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> Setting Up A "corporate" 'nix Fax Server
bluephoenix
post Apr 28 2003, 11:02 AM
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We run a small network of 30 or so computers at work; the server runs Windows NT and the terminals Windows 95 and 98 (mostly 98 but there's still a few stragglers...). We'd like to set some sort of server up so that people can send outgoing faxes directly from their computer instead of having to print and then run downstairs and horde the fax machine. Personally I would like to see a linux solution because we've got a few old computers sitting in the corner of the office doing nothing, and I hate the thought of having to pay Mr. Gates more moeny in licensing fees (especially for unstable products).

This is in the planning stages and I make sure I want to get all my "ducks (penguins?) in a row" before I start to try and convince the management that Linux would be our best way to go in regards performance, reliability and cost. So I'm going to toss the ideas I've got out here and hope someone can make a few suggestions or relate a few experiences they've had in similar projects:

The basic hardware we'd like to use is one of the old computers (Pentium II... with MMX technology!!! WOW!! lol) and a US Robotics Sportser 14,4 Fax Modem (V.42).

I think we won't have any problems with the modem, but I'm concerned about selecting the right linux distro; management like microsoft's outrageous prices because of "tech support." I don't think the computer itself is capable of running a mainstream distribution and it'll be difficult to sell a specialized minimalist linux distro to those used to the "tech support" security blanket.

Then there's the question of fax software. I've heard Hylafax and EFax tossed about... I'm not familiar with either really and don't know each's strong points and weakness. Anyone here know more about these two? I do know C/C++, Perl, PHP and am starting to take a look at Python so in a worst-case scenario I could script my own software.

Finally I think there's the issue of interfacing with an existing Microsoft network... Samba pops into mind... but again I've no experience with it (never had a need to interface with an exting Microsoft network before!). Anyone have some "horror" stories?

-Tim
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michaelk
post Apr 28 2003, 08:33 PM
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Your on the right track. I don't think you will have any problems with linux on a Pentium II. The more memory the better off you are. Check the min requirements with whatever distro you select.

I don't have any experience with either fax server packages. I would go with either Redhat, Mandrake or SUSE. They are the mainstream distros and proabaly the easist to install and configure. Just select the desired packages while installing. All have samba and it works as is. Just some minor tweaks required for your network. There is a Hylafax package on Mandrake. Don't know if it works or not.

For documentation on samba see www.samba.org. I don't have any problems with my linux box on a W2K network.
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bluephoenix
post May 13 2003, 04:11 PM
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Thank you! The project is underway smile.gif

-Tim
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