A fax printer server is a setup of few programs: efax, and the print server, in such a way that sending a fax from the computer is as simple as sending printout to a printer.
Setting efax as fax print server includes few problems
As I worked it out few times, I decided to collect this wisdom
in this small mini-HOWTO, comments are welcome at
I describe them here and the solutions, and all the instruction in short steps:
make sure you have the efax package.
On RPM based system use the command 'rpm -qv efax'.
You can get the efax sources in tar.gz format from sunsite: ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/apps/serialcomm/fax/efax08a.tar.gz or binary rpm package: ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/redhat-4.2/i386/RedHat/RPMS/efax-0.8a-3.i386.rpm
The efax documentation is missing the : at the end of the printcap entry.
Solution: Add the following
fax:\ :lp=/dev/null:\ :sd=/var/spool/fax:\ :if=/usr/bin/faxlpr:
Use hard link and not symbolic link to the fax command.
Run the command:
ln /usr/bin/fax /usr/bin/faxlpr
Edit the /usr/bin/fax to your preferences:
choose the right Fax Class for your modem:
Set the FROM="your international phone number" field
Add the line for conversion of international phone number to local for example in Israel you would use:
TELCVT='sed -e s/+972/0/ -e s/+/00/' # Israel
There is a problem in the file in line 586, change the
cfile=... with the following two lines:
cfile=`/usr/bin/tail -1 lock` cfile=`cat $cfile`
at lines 586,587 there shouldn't be '-' signs the lines are:
0) echo "$l" | mail -s "fax to $num succeeded" $user@$host ;; *) echo "$l" | mail -s "fax to $num failed " $user@$host ;;
create the directory /var/spool/fax
mkdir /var/spool/fax chmod 777 /var/spool/fax
The lock file (
/var/spool/fax/lock) is being created with
incorrect permissions, use the following command to set it correctly:
touch /var/spool/fax/lock ; chmod 644 /var/spool/fax/lock
The efax program is expecting real device file at the
and will not work with symbolic link, so create a device file
with the same major and minor number as the
/dev/cua? the is
connected to the modem. The file should have the rw-rw-rw- mode to enable
any user to use the fax software.
ls -lL /dev/modem rm /dev/modem mknod /dev/modem c Mj Mi chmod 666 /dev/modem
Mj is 5, and Mi is 64 for the cua0, 65 for cua1 and so on. For example (for cua1):
mknod /dev/modem c 5 65
change the mode at the
chmod 1777 /var/lock
You should use the fax printer using the -P option and the -J option with the fax number.
use one of the following lpr commands:
lpr -Pfax -J <Fax-Number> [file-names] any command | lpr -Pfax -J <Fax-Number>
After the -J option.
Add the following entry into the
/etc/printcap file and the client
Linux systems, create the spool directory, and so on ...
fax:\ :sd=/var/spool/fax:\ :mx#0:\ :sh:\ :rm=host.domain:\ :rp=fax:
add the name of the client hosts into the
/etc/hosts.lpd on the
fax server machine.
use it as before.
The header string that efax adds to the fax pages is not effected by the user name that sends the fax. (can be updated).
The LPRng printing management software is using a different method to handle the control file.
Thanks to Luca Montecchiani <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who found the problem and the solution.
Here is an update to the
/usr/bin/fax file. The following line replace the two simple cfile=... lines at lines 586,587
# Modified to work also with the LPRng package # Luca Montecchiani (08/11/97 email@example.com) if [ !-z "$CONTROL_FILE" ] then cfile=`cat tail -1 lock` cfile=`cat $cfile` else cfile=$CONTROL_FILE fi