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Problem running Openscad from the command line

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Problem running Openscad from the command line

This is more a problem of usage rather than a problem with Openscad itself
but I'm hoping that someone knows the answer.

I'm trying to run a Perl CGI script from a browser that accepts an STL file,
converts it to a PNG and returns a link for that PNG back to the originator.
Because Openscad requires an X server, I'm using xvfb-run to run a small
shell script that, basically calls openscad and passes in an stl filename.
The Perl script works perfectly when I run it from the command line but
fails (in fact it seems to pretty much hang) when the script is run by the
web server.  I think that the problem lies in the xauth processing because
when I run xvfb-run with the -e flag I get various (but changing) xauth type
error messages.  In essence these error messages suggest that either
.Xauthority is missing, or it is not owned by root or it's timing out unable
to get a lock.

As I say, when run from the command line it all works whether I've specified
an auth file (.Xauthority in my home directory) with the xvfb-run -f flag or
run xvfb-run with no -f flag in which case it defaults quite happily to
/tmp/.X11-unix but it will not run when called by the web server.  I use the
-a flag to tell it to search for a free server/display which it does but
then, as far as I can tell, it just leaves the instances of xvfb-run

I am at my wits end trying to figure out why it's failing and would be very
grateful for any suggestions or pointers.

The server operating system is Ubuntu 18.04, the web server is lighttpd with
both mod_cgi and mod_auth (amongst others) enabled

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