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On 6 Nov 2007, at 17:50, Mike Pall wrote:

- All recent Linux/*BSD distros and of course Mac OS X install
  with UTF-8 locales by default. Most single-char NLS functions
  don't work _at all_ with UTF-8 locales (see recent thread).

When viewed from POSIX land (as Lua does) Mac OS X does not install with a UTF-8 locale by default. It doesn't set the LANG POSIX environment variable nor any of the LC_* environment variables, therefore when a POSIX app does a setlocale("") it still remains in the C/POSIX locale.

Granted UTF-8 is used pretty ubiquitously throughout Mac OS X, but you still need to select it explicitly from the POSIX world.

Everything else you say is bang on.