Linux simple fax printer server mini-HOWTO (faxsrv-mini-HOWTO)
v1.0, 8 November 1997
No warranties. Comments are always welcome.
This document describes in details one of the simplest ways to setup
fax server on your Linux system. The fax is available to the users
on the local host and to network users.
To get a working printer/fax on the linux machine you should have
some software and fax modem.
The Printing software will be using the fax software as a print filter.
The efax will find the fax number from the print Job number and will send the fax.
The efax software was written be Ed Casas <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The rest of the document is build as Q&A.
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:
The efax Software
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:
or binary rpm package:
The printcap entry.
The efax documentation is missing the : at the end of the printcap entry.
Solution: Add the following
The fax command
Use hard link and not symbolic link to the fax command.
Run the command:
ln /usr/bin/fax /usr/bin/faxlpr
The /usr/bin/fax file.
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`
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 ;;
The /var/spool/fax directory.
create the directory /var/spool/fax
chmod 777 /var/spool/fax
The lock file.
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 /dev/modem special file.
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
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 ...
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 <email@example.com>, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
if [ !-z "$CONTROL_FILE" ]
cfile=`cat tail -1 lock`
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