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> While this may have been discussed many times in the past


> While it is debatable whether Lua itself should automatically keep
track 'n'

It doesn't; only the table library uses it. However, there is a C
interface for people who want to interact with the table library.

> why not at least change the table library implementation
> to e.g. use a weak table to store the information?

It has been changed in version 5, exactly as you describe.
However, the old behaviour is still supported as well.