1. It's prudent to avoid executing data from the stack. Why? Because you have a scripts that manipulate data on the stack. Obviously the system is designed so that scripts can't manipulate the data that is going to be executed. But if there is a bug, you have all the pieces in place for an exploit. The script doesn't have opcodes to manipulate off-stack data, so Luke's implementation seems safer.
Did you read BIP 16?
Validation fails if there are any operations other than "push data" operations in the scriptSig.
So there is no manipulation allowed AT ALL.
2. Supporters of BIP 16 claim that it allows 5-10 times more headroom before block size limits are reached. Supporters of BIP 17 claim that it puts fewer bytes into the block. Can someone please make a clear statement about what these proposals actually mean for scalability?
A maximum of 1,000 "naked" OP_CHECKMULTISIG operations are allowed in the scriptSigs and scriptPubKeys of transactions in any given block.
We had a block earlier this month with 1,8000 scriptSigs, so I think we are uncomfortably close to that limit.
BIP 16 "hides" the CHECKMULTISIGS in the serialized script, so more of them are allowed.
3. It's clear that both BIP 16 and BIP 17 transactions can be spent by others if those transactions are broadcast before 50% of the mining power (plus a safety margin) supports them. It's also clear that the BIP 17 transactions are easier to spend in this situation. However I think this is a non-issue because (a) mining power will quickly rise above 50% once consensus is reached, and (b) who is going to broadcast these newfangled transactions before the mining power is there to support them?
At the very least BIP 17 is harder to test-- Luke had to test on the main network because I was naughty and wrote and ran a BIP-17-transaction-stealing bot (sorry, I couldn't resist).
3. I have a vague feeling of undue haste. Gavin has already said that his motivation is the security of people's transactions, and I don't doubt it. But is that the whole motivation? Gavin needs to say whether it's commercially relevant to his current work project whether BIP 16 or BIP 17 is chosen (or how quickly the new functionality is firmed up). It's no big deal if Gavin has a commercial interest. In that case, he should just step aside from administering the oversight of this particular decision.
I have zero commercial interest; I am not being paid by anybody for anything right now.