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I just tried to install the latest luarocks from the Github repo
master (SHA1: 143cc28429)
on the Mac OSX 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). 'make build' resulted in error
'/pkg/lua-5.1.5.LR3-mac/bin/lua' -e "package.path=[[`echo "$PWD" | sed
-e 's/\([][]\)\1/]]..'\''\1\1'\''..[[/g' -
`/src/?.lua;]]..package.path" src/bin/luarocks make rockspec
sed: -: No such file or directory

which I was able to trace to a complex and fragile definition of
SAFEPWD variable in the main Makefile.

SAFEPWD=`echo "$$PWD" | sed -e 's/\([][]\)\1/]]..'\''\1\1'\''..[[/g' -`

Removing this variable and replacing it with a regular $$PWD solved the problem.

I am curious, what's the point of sanitizing PWD value?
Is it an attempt to prevent malicious use of path names:-)