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[package system]

> The problem left open seems to be how to install
> C extensions, and packages that need them.

Could you be a bit more specific? You mean how to build them? How to 
load them dynamically or statically? Where to stick the files? How to 
avoid getting the lua part but not the library part? How to handle 
CPU flavour in a binary distro?

("Install" as in "copy to a well-known place and be done with
it" I find easy. That is how I have found Lua to work for me :-)

> I guess things will get even more difficult in 5.1
> because of the write barrier, however, probably not
> as bad as managing ref-counting in Python (which is
> a nightmare ..)

What's a "write barrier"? I have heard of (and felt, alas, in a 
"pedestrian meets bus" incident in Brisbane...boy was that bus in bad 
shape!) the pain barrier and I have heard of (but not seen or felt)
the barrier reef. But a write barrier...what you get when a 
conference paper has snuck up on you, in my book.