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> I'm shifting my position. I no longer care about byte-order independent code.

Thanks. I'm really leaning towards a simple and fast dump/undump pair for
the Lua core.

I'm convinced that the best route to byte order or cross-compiling is
third-party dump/undump pairs. The files ldump.c and lundump.c are
completely replaceable; they export a single, well-defined, entry point.
The format of precompiled chunks is not sacred at all; you can use any
format, as long as ldump.c and lundump.c agree about it. (For instance,
Rici Lake is considering writing a text format for precompiled chunks.)
For the Lua core, I prefer a simple and fast one. For cross-compiling,
it should be simple to change ldump.c for instance. We just have to wait
till someone writes it and makes it available.

> I would however like a parser that took Lua sources and built
> Lua-based syntax trees out of them.

Ah, that's an old dream. My main problem with this is that it'll have to
be a different parser from the Lua core. I don't think lparser.c is easy
to reuse. That is a shame, because having another parser opens the door to
inconsistencies. (At least, the lexer is easy to reuse, which goes helps