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> This way a novice programmer (not knowledgeable of the C inner workings 
> of Lua) could think that unpacking a 10,000 items array should be 
> doable, and instead get an error (maybe in production code).

In Lua 5.2 the limit seems to be 1,000,00.

> At least it should be mentioned in the manual that unpack has some
> limit and is not intended for large array operations.

Probably, yes.