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> When you build lua you give something like:
> make linux
> so you give the PLATFORM as the target and this is already wrong. You
> are not doing "linux", you are building Lua. The platform should be a
> variable, not the target.

This is for convenience. You can do "make PLAT=linux" at the top level.
It also reflects the sad fact that ifs are not supported by all makes
(or are they?) In fact, one of the reasons we introduced luaconf.h was that
the C preprocessor is more expressive than Makefiles; in particular they
support includes and ifs.
> I guess that it does depend on the GNU Makefile but the motto is:
> "do not write portable makefiles but use a portable make (GNU make)" :-)

You certainly have a point there. The question is: would a GNU Makefile
for Lua be simpler, shorter, and easier to understand and maintain?