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> w/ "setpause" 200 once at beginning of script = still growing but not completely linear. Roughly like
> [...]

"setpause" 200 is the default.

> Basic script - grows ~100MB every 15 minutes
> [...]
> w/ "setpause" 100 once at beginning of script = grows ~70MB every 15 minutes

It looks like, for some reason, your program is creating garbage
much faster than the collector is collecting it. Can you try an even
more aggressive collector? Something like this:

  collectgarbage("setpause", 50)
  collectgarbage("setstepmul", 400)

You can also try the following code in your loop, to check what is
going on with the registry:

  local r = debug.getregistry()
  for k,v in pairs(r) do print(k,v) end

-- Roberto