MikTeX provides access to the latest binaries through the
miktex-nxt update channel. While being windows-only all these years, in 2018, it looks like Mr Schenk is extending his distribution to certain GNU/Linux distros. The problem is that I am not on one of the supported distros and therefore using TL2018 on my linux distro.
The question of updating TL binaries was asked before here for which no satisfactory answer was provided. The only answer there does not provide an actual answer to the OP's question, but instead simply says that the recommended way is to wait for next release of TexLive. The closest explanation for this comes from a comment by Joseph Wright, who says it is non-trivial and that drop-in binaries for non-Windows versions do not exist.
I find all this to be very confusing. There is certainly a binary available for GNU/Linux from the contextgarden/luatex development team here. What is the installation difficulty with this? Why is miktex able to do it while texlive cannot? I am looking for technical answers.
For example, as of today (31/Aug/2018), the latest luatex version is 1.09, but that included with TL 2018 is v1.07. Looking at the reference manual, luatex 1.09 does seem to indicate a performance boost. Furthermore, a new lightweight pdf library is promised. What is the recommended way to update if one does not want to wait until TL2019 is released (which will jump to luatex v1.10)?
I am asking because I have a large thesis with custom lua commands that takes nearly 7-8 minutes to compile on a fast machine and any performance boost to speed this up is welcome.