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> So the idea came to me that it would be easier to maintain one copy of lua
> that can run the 5.1 dll/so and the 5.x dll/so based on a command line
> switch

Do you mean this?

# usage: lua VERSION other args


echo exec /usr/local/bin/lua$V $@

Typical usage:  lua -51 foo.lua arg1 arg2 ... but all command-liine
switches are available.

This assumes the existence of /usr/local/bin/lua-51, lua-52, etc.