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Old 23rd December 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
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Default Fax software

Does anyone have an experience with fax software for freebsd? I'm going to fetch a web page that can be plain text, save it as a file, then fax it to a local phone number. It seems most people have used mgetty+sendfax, hylafax or efax. I know nothing about any of them and was hoping someone had some insight, guidance, etc.
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Old 23rd December 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
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This does not really answer your question, but we always scan (or convert) to PDF and send the file by email. There are very few places that *require* a FAX. For those, there is Kinko's.
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Old 23rd December 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
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Nope. FAX is required. No exceptions.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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Well, there are still a few antidiluvians around.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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While it's not exactly a FreeBSD thing, I heard about this website a few weeks ago: http://www.efax.com/ and it looked useful.


As to things in ports, a quick psearch for fax turns up a few things that might be worth investigating:

Code:
 comms/acfax               Receive faxes using sound card and radio
 comms/efax                Fax send/receive program
 comms/efax-gtk            GUI front end for the efax fax program
 comms/gfax                A Mono based pop-up fax manager
 comms/ghfaxviewer         GNOME compliant fax viewer capable of displaying TIFF  G3 faxes
 comms/hamfax              QT application for sending and receiving facsimiles o ver radio
 comms/hylafax             Fax software
 comms/mgetty+sendfax      Handle external logins, send and receive faxes
comms/pyla                Hylafax client written in Python
comms/qsstv               Amateur Radio SSTV/FAX reception program for unix
comms/tkhylafax           A tcl/tk interface to Sam Leffler's fax package
 comms/tkscanfax           Tcl/Tk frontend for fax scan/receive/send program (co mmand is tkfax)
 comms/viewfax             Display files containing g3 and/or g4 coded fax pages
 net/astfax                AstFax provides an outgoing email to fax gateway for  Asterisk
net/asterisk              An Open Source PBX and telephony toolkit

If you're not anticipating much need for sending or receiving faxes at a later date, I'd personally suggest print the file and drive down to the nearest telifacsimile machine; less to screw with.
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Old 23rd December 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
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Ok, let me explain.

This store has an online ordering system. When the orders are finished, a sheet is made up with the details and available online. That page needs to be printed on the store's Windows computer's second printer, not the default.

The employees have no access to Windows at all. It runs a 3rd party application and cannot be shutdown, nor would they want to. Too busy.

The order page must automatically print out within 2 minutes of being finalized online. They cannot use the default printer. There is no way to make a Windows script print on anything but the deafult. The only thing left is their fax machine. All their stores have fax machines for more uses than you would think. It has not gone away in that industry by any means.

So, until my "proof of concept" works and I can pay some Windows person to write code to make the second printer work, I can use their fax machines anywhere in the world for free.

All of the ports mentioned above I am aware of and looked at. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with them before I plug away at it.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
Does anyone have an experience with fax software for freebsd? I'm going to fetch a web page that can be plain text, save it as a file, then fax it to a local phone number. It seems most people have used mgetty+sendfax, hylafax or efax. I know nothing about any of them and was hoping someone had some insight, guidance, etc.
I, much like Dr. J, have no experience in sending faxes from the computer
(that is way I have secretary and trusted Brother fax machine) but I am very, very curious about fax software.

It looks to me from reading abot software you listed that efax is
just simplified version of mgetty+sendfax for a single user system and
that hylafax is separate enterprise level solution.

I also know that HPLIP has component for FAX sending for all-in-one HPLIP devices but from my experience with HPLIP I would chose million times over to play with serial port and fax modems then with HP and USB connections.

If I was you I would try installing all three of above solutions and possibly
front-ends for them and see which one is the easiest to set up,
configure, use and finally if it fits my needs.

Could you please post your findings and recommendations?

Last edited by Oko; 23rd December 2008 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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I was reading more about your FAX software. If I was you I would give a
try to Hylafax. You also have a gui for it TkHylafax but GUI can not
handle all advanced features of the back end software. Hyla is BSD licenced
and coded originally by SGI people in 1991. I might play on weekend with it
myself. It is definitely enterprise level solution.
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Old 23rd December 2008
drhowarddrfine drhowarddrfine is offline
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mgetty+sendfax isn't maintained anymore but I don't know if I should let that bother me. I had read that hylafax might be overkill since it's enterprise, as you said. There may be days when no faxes are sent at all, while others may have no more than a few in an hour.

I thought hylafax might be easier to throw together and make work, too, but after installing and playing for one whole minute, it seems I'd get the same thing out of mgetty*. (As if I really knew)
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Old 23rd December 2008
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I haven't sent a fax in... forever.. but this small utility looks easy enough.

http://www.cce.com/efax/
http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/ports.cgi...efax&stype=all

Looks like it would be easy to script with, all you need is a fax modem.. one that's supported by FreeBSD.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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I hadn't read the docs about efax yet. It's on my list above. That site explains it simply enough and might actually be what I want. I was somewhat concerned it was related to efax.com.
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Old 23rd December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
There is no way to make a Windows script print on anything but the deafult.
To bad you can't just send the data to a specific printer port, i.e. much like 'type foo.txt > LPT2' in a command prompt.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
I was somewhat concerned it was related to efax.com.
Doesn't appear to be, probably a coincidence.
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Old 24th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
To bad you can't just send the data to a specific printer port, i.e. much like 'type foo.txt > LPT2' in a command prompt.
You would think that would be a no-brainer but I'm told Windows scripting is pretty bad.
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Old 24th December 2008
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Compared to the Bourne Again/Korn shells + associated utils, it's very basic (in more ways then one) if you use cmd.exe for scripting with batch files. I'm not very familiar with WMI/WSH/OLE and related crap though, so hopefully there is something worth using.


Different OSes, different paradigms ? curse : blessing;
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Old 24th December 2008
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I have used efax (via its shell script fax), although not under FreeBSD. My use of faxes is not sophisticated and once in a blue moon, but it did what was needed. I guess the fact that under those circumstances I could always re-figure out nearly from scratch what to do means it is usable.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdOp View Post
I have used efax (via its shell script fax), although not under FreeBSD. My use of faxes is not sophisticated and once in a blue moon, but it did what was needed. I guess the fact that under those circumstances I could always re-figure out nearly from scratch what to do means it is usable.
Can you actually configure efax to automatically receive faxes. I looked
today man pages for it and appears to me that it can not run as a daemon.
Am I wrong? The another thing would be to configure the damn thing to relay phone traffic so that voice calls are send to phone secretary. All of that appears to be possible with HylaFax.
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Old 24th December 2008
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Argh!! I thought all my boxes had fax modems in them. Turns out, none of them do. I found an old external USR one but it needs a serial cable. I might have one but do I really feel like messing with all this?

This is the 3rd time I've been screwed by Windows. The first time lead me to FreeBSD so that actually worked out OK. The second time caused me much grief trying to get modern methods to work with Internet Explorer. And now this!
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Old 24th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko
Can you actually configure efax to automatically receive faxes. I
looked today man pages for it and appears to me that it can not run as
a daemon. Am I wrong?
I'm not an expert on efax, but it seems it might be possible, because
in the fax(1) man page it says:

Quote:
If efax has been installed for automatic fax reception you can
use the fax queue command to check for files in the incoming spool
directory. ... Privileged users can use the fax stop and fax start
commands to stop and restart the fax reception daemon.
That said, I don't recall ever having used it that way myself. IIRC to
receive a fax all I did was start a new console or xterm and within it
run "fax receive" when the phone rang. Again, not sophisticated but it
did the trick for a one-off co-ordinated fax every few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oko
The another thing would be to configure the damn
thing to relay phone traffic so that voice calls are send to phone
secretary. All of that appears to be possible with HylaFax.
I guess this would require special modem capability. See the efax man
page section on "Accepting both fax and data calls".
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Old 24th December 2008
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I finally set a headless WinXP machine (with coLinux and VirtualPC) for those applications that only run on ... [fill the blanks]. Put UWIN on it for good measure (and X server).
So, I send faxes via Pamfax (which comes as extended service to Skype).
Had to find an usage for the Intel Atom board I once bought.
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