Tired of the 5 page limit of free fax services? Time to send 6 pages or more? Here’s some tips and methods to make sure your Linux faxing is actually working.
Faxing in Linux
Linux Fax Software
There are quite a few Linux software packages for sending and receiving faxes, but the 2 packages I like, because they are quick and easy are:
efax is great for command line, as long as you’ve already converted your doc or PDF to postscript. If not you’ll need to use pdf2ps or pdftops (part of xPDF).
If you want to be lazy and not have to mess around converting your files and just use efax-gtk. It will send a PDF file, converting it automatically.
It’s also pretty simple to get efax-gtk to answer incoming fax calls. Click the “Standby” button on the gui, and it will stand by until the phone rings, catching your faxes, or blasting those cool screeching modem tones, into the ears of all those unsolicited spam callers!
What is a good Linux Fax Modem?
Anything but a Winmodem. While some of these actually can work in Linux now, it’s not worth the headache. Find yourself an old-school modem, like my old US Robotics Courier external modem, a Female to DB25 Male Modem Cable and a USB to Serial adapter, and you are good to go.
Yes, you can use an internal modem, if that’s what you need to use, but make sure it’s Linux Compatible, if you are running Linux.
How Can I Test My Fax?
The best method to test your Linux fax abilities is by sending a fax, from your system and then receiving a fax with it.
Testing the Sending of Faxes
Put together a simple, yet recognizable one-page fax and send it to 1-855-330-1239 (toll-free in the United States.) After it has transmitted, use your web browser to open up Fax Toy. This is a web site that displays anything that is faxed to that number. In about a minute, your fax should appear on the site. If you can’t read it, click on it to see it in a larger size.
Testing the Receiving of Faxes
Load up the website for FaxZero. They will allow you send faxes (5 pages maximum), for free, to anywhere in the United States and Canada. Send yourself a fax, ensuring that you use the phone number for the line, that your modem is connected to. In a few minutes, your modem should automatically answer and receive your test fax.
Free Fax services can be really handy, but they can also be limiting. It’s always good to remember that if you are using a free service, that you or your data are the true product that makes them money.