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> The larger issue is that although module writers would like to be as
> free and easy to write the most expressive code possible (in this case
> having trim() as a string method) it is a problem when these
> conveniences impact on global tables like string itself.

I don't see a problem here at all. Take for instance my mathx, which
extends the standard math library with the functions available in C99.
I think it's quite natural to ad those to math instead of creating a
mathx table.