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> The x86_64 architecture does not support long doubles in hardware.  As
> for other architectures, I don't know.

So, writing

#define LUA_NUMBER    long double

simply allows the compiler to ignore long, use it if there is hardware support,
or emulate it by software (which would probably slow Lua a bit).

Anyway, one answer the original question is that Lua already supports
long doubles in 64-bit machines, just not automatically: you need to change
a few lines in luaconf.h. But you'll want to know how your compiler handles
long doubles.