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This is an excerp from my rc.lua:

testcfg ={}
testcfg.s = 1
testcfg.widget = widget({type = "textbox", name = "testcfg.widget", align = "right"})
testcfg.widget.text = testcfg.s

testcfg.command = function ()
    testcfg.s = testcfg.s +1
    testcfg.widget.text = testcfg.s 

    button({ }, 1, function() testcfg.command() end)

This is a debug-widget I created to test the bug I have. I added it to my wibox and everything is working.

Then, sometimes, the button stops working. When I click on the widget, nothing happens. If I reload awesome, it still doesn't work. This happens for all widgets I have. Either every widget works or none.

When I call testcfg.command through awesome-client it works though.

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Sorry it won't be a real answer, I haven't enough reputation to comment...

Your code works for me either, I installed it for about three hour, clicked it over 100 times, restarted Awesome, etc. I guess you'll have to find some more clues about this.

Try to launch a nested X session with Xephyr (Doc on the awesome wiki) to have some debug traces. Alternatively, you can also launch your normal session redirecting any error message in a file. Here is what I use in my .xinitrc:

ck-launch-session /bin/bash --login -c 'awesome' > ~/.xsession-errors 2>&1
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