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> Am I missing something here? Any ideas where to look for? Maybe some limit?

Try this replacement in loslib.c and see what the error message is:

static int os_execute (lua_State *L) {
  int rc=system(luaL_optstring(L, 1, NULL));
  int en=errno;
  lua_pushinteger(L, rc);
  lua_pushstring(L, strerror(en));
  lua_pushinteger(L, en);
  return 3;