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Reuben Thomas wrote:
Indeed, perhaps the most valuable lesson one can learn from it is that
marketing counts, and that the Lua community, if it wants Lua to
become more popular (and that is not a given) may need to work on the
language's image as much as anything else. Alternatively, one can take
the view that it's no big deal, and that image always tends to lag
reality in any case (something that seems to be true even of the most
widely-used and well-known languages and systems).

I remember one rather interesting conversation here a while back; someone was asking about using Lua for some purpose... enterprise data processing, I think. I was rather struck by the difference in attitude between the people here and the kind of community you get in, say, Ruby or Python:

Q. Why should I use [Language] for X?

Python community: It's great that you're considering Python, because it's the best language for the job! Python is really good at doing A, B and C, and if you were to change your architecture you could do D, E and F as well!

Lua community: I don't know. Why *should* you use Lua?

I think most people here see Lua as a component, intended to be customised and bolted into another product, rather than being used on its own. I write Lua scripts for doing quick hacks --- but they nearly always get a customised interpreter if they ever turn into anything more than a quick hack.

Here's some rather interesting statistics from the Debian Popularity Contest:

35% of (participating) users have liblua5.1 installed (the shared library). 1% have lua5.1 installed (the command line interpreter). If you compare to ruby, 34% have ruby1.8 installed while 27% have libruby1.8 --- most ruby users use the interpreter. And if you check Python, most versions don't even *have* a separate library package!

(Also, check out that growth curve for liblua5.1...)

I think what I'm trying to say is that Lua users are weird and don't necessarily fall into the same demographic as with other scripting languages. I could be wrong, though --- I know *I'm* weird...

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