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The Lua team seems to have chosen to make a PHP competitor called Kepler, build around lua and lua modules because that is the most effective way to popularize Lua. And move Lua into the future-web programming. Seeing how fast Ruby has become popular because of Ruby on Rails, maybe Kepler will propel Lua in a similar way.

I believe a standalone command line interface version of lua hasn't really been the Lua team's focus. But I believe that for many programmers a lighter, simpler, faster alternative to Python, Perl, Ruby, TCL would be useful. So core libraries tuned to specific functionality like IUP for GUI's and LuaFileSystem for file/directory access would also propel Lua forward . I believe with a good set of core libraries and a standard Lua install packages for Windows, Linus &  Mac,and more beginner documentation that Lua would be more popular. Right now to use Lua means a manual setup of directories and environment variables, manual copy of lua binaries, picking modules to install one by one, visiting many web sites, reading this email list, and reading Programming in Lua book, the Lua Reference manual as well as online tutorials.

For me, a reduced learning curve is the path to maximum productivity. As for a swiss-army knife language, I think lua is pretty close. Lua has scattered sets of information,bringing those sets together in a single install would make Lua better. Now that modules exist, a standard install package can be put together for Lua. But what should be in the "standard package", who is going to do it? And maybe more importantly how is that work to be organized?