Summary: FAX-related products for SparcStations [RESEND]

From: Richard Kulawiec (
Date: Fri Jan 03 1992 - 18:31:56 CST

[This is a remailing; apparently the first try did not make it out. ---Rsk ]

A while back, I asked about FAX-related products for SparcStations.
I received quite a bit of mail on the subject; here's a summary.
(If anyone wants the entire raw mail file, I can send it out, but
it's much larger and contains only a few details not covered here.)
Many thanks to those folks who took the time and trouble to send
along pointers and information; this proved VERY helpful. Perhaps
the collection of information below will also prove helpful to someone else.


Products discussed:

1. Qfax (Choreo Systems )
2. IsoFax (Bristol Group)
3. FAXmodem 9600 (Perfect Byte)
4. Unifax (Faxxis International)
5. FAXView (Sun)
6. VSI*FAX (V-Systems)
7. Trufax (COS Inc.)
8. netfax (Henry Minsky, MIT Media Lab)
9. faxpak (Job Control)
10. SCINET 3000 (TGI)
11. CorporateFax (Computer Signal Corp.)

12. S-Bus based products.

1. Qfax

Vendor: Choreo Systems Inc.
        47 Colbourne Street, Suite 300,
        Toronto, Ontario M5E 1P8, CANADA
        Tel: (416)-360-0516 FAX: (416)-359-1172
        Attn: Chris Strybos

This system uses a dedicated 286 or 386 PC server, containing one or more
FAX cards, connected by RS232 to a UNIX or VMS host, directly or
via a terminal server. Handles ASCII, Postscript, TIFF, HPGL and IMG
files in and out. Does multiple destinations, full security and accounting,
has Wordperfect interface. Very complete product.

2. IsoFax

The Bristol Group Ltd, The Bristol Group Deutschland GmbH,
P.O. Box 910, Dreieichstrabe 10,
Londonderry, D6082 Morfelden-Walldorf,
New Hampshire 03053. Germany.
Phone : 603 437-3700 Phone : 0 6105 2945
Fax : 603 437-3220 Fax : 0 6105 25395


Isofax is a modular software package, based on five key modules. The
package uses an Everex/Abaton faxmodem (which is currently not British
Telecom approved) but BG claim that a version of the package working with
a BT approved modem will be available at some time in the near future.
Hardware supported by the package includes Sun3, and Sun4(SPARC) machines.

Key Features:

Incoming and outgoing faxes
Graphical (SunWindows) and command line interfaces
Input files accepted - ASCII, raster and postscript
Floating network license
On screen viewing of faxes
Delayed/off hours transmission of faxes
Multiple destinations
Incoming and Outgoing activity logs
Fax Phone directory
PageMaker, Word, Excel documents can be imported from a Mac.

Cost is ~$2500 with modem, for a single network license for the Sun and XView
versions (both included) and the PostScript license. The plain terminal
interface would be extra, as would the capability to create and send
faxes directly from applications such as FrameMaker, Interleaf, etc.

Two GUIs are offered: FaxTool (SunView) and XFaxTool (Open Look).
A non-graphic interface (e.g. ascii tty) called FaxTerm is also available.
Fax ToolKit contains a set of shell-level programs for incorporation into
other tools (for use by sophisticated users and developers).

FaxTool/XFaxTool/FaxTerm/Fax Toolkit are $995 each. An additional PostScript
interpreter license is $200.

3. FAXmodem 9600

Perfect Byte Inc.
7121 Cass Street,
Omaha, Nebraska 68132 Phone : 402 554-1122
United States Fax : 402 554-1938


The Faxmodem 9600 is a complete package comprising a fax modem
and driver/application software. The modem is currently not BT approved,
though PB say they have applied for approval and expect their modem to be
approved within the next 12 weeks. Faxmodem 9600 is an external device
which plugs into a dedicated asynch serial port on the host workstation.
The package requires a diskful Sun-4 workstation with a minimum of 10MB of
free space. 16 Megabytes RAM recommended. Open Windows 2.0 or higher
needed for PostScript-to-fax.

Key Features:

Incoming and outgoing faxes
Graphical (SunView and OpenWindows) and command line interfaces
Input files accepted - ASCII, raster and postscript
E-mail notification of receipt of fax and other fax activity
Onscreen viewing of faxes
Floating network license
Delayed/off hours transmission of faxes
Multiple destinations
Incoming and Outgoing activity logs
Fax Phone directory
Offers Group 3 transmission but will do Group 2 as well
Incoming faxes savable as FrameMaker MIF, Sunraster, PostScript,
Handles Group 3 and 4 image compression.

FAXmodem with single-user floating licenese for PerfectFAX (the software
is bundled with the modem) lists for $1995. Additional licenses for
SunView or Open Look GUI are $995 each.

4. Unifax

Faxxis International Inc.,
13355 Noel Road,
Suite 500,
Dallas, Texas 75240 Phone : 214 702-7999
                        Fax : 214 702-7992


Unifax is mainly intended for use on PC's running Xenix, (the graphical
front end and fax previewer being meant for use with EGA/VGA screens).
Faxxis did however claim to be completing support for Sun O/S and to be
providing X-windows support on 88000 architectures, when I contacted them
back in August

Unifax may be used in conjunction with a number of different fax modems,
including the Everex/Abaton and JT Fax 9600 modems.

Key Features:

Incoming and outgoing faxes
Graphical (EGA/VGA, X-Windows due Sep/Oct 90) and command line interface's
Input files accepted - ASCII, and TIFF/F (postscript due Sept 90)
E-mail notification of receipt of fax and other fax activity
Onscreen viewing of faxes
Delayed/off hours transmission of faxes
Multiple destinations
Incoming and Outgoing activity logs

5. FAXView

This is a Sun Sonsulting special. Contact your local
Sun sales office. Some excerpts from Sun's info:


Faxview is a SunView based application to send, receive,
display and print facsimiles. Sending and receiving of faxes
is accomplished via email from a "fax server" workstation.
Faxview can either be run as a window-based program on your Sun
framebuffer to display an image of a fax or it can be run from
any terminal to print a fax.

The window-based portion of faxview consists mainly of 3
SunView frames. The first frame contains 3 windows, the
Control panel where the user chooses how to display the fax,
the scrollable Error window where error messages are displayed,
and the Display canvas where the facsimile image can be viewed.

6. VSI*Fax

VSI*FAX from V-Systems can make your sun a fax machine. (714) 545-6442.

VSI*FAX includes a fax modem and software that enables you to send, receive
and print (on a HP Laser jet) faxes. This product is still in its infancy but
shows a lot of promise. I'm running it on a Sequent, I don't know if
the have ported it to Sun yet but it is ported to 386 running Sys V.3.

7. Trufax

COS Inc.,
9 Huron Way,
Lawrencville, NJ 08648 Phone : 609 771-6705
                                Fax : 609 530-0898


Trufax is another fax product which is mainly intended for use with
386 based PC's running either Unix or Xenix. When I contacted COS Inc.
however, I was informed that a Sun-4 version was being beta tested and
that it was due for release towards the end of October.

Trufax supports only external fax modems and their literature makes
specific reference to the Everex Everfax modem.

Trufax is designed as a set of tools, which can be used from the command line.

Key Features:

Incoming and outgoing faxes
Command line interface
Input files accepted - ASCII, and TIFF/F
E-mail notification of receipt of fax
Onscreen viewing of faxes
Automatic retries

 [ I received the info from these people: They now support:
386/486 UNIX, XENIX, PS/2 AIX, Sun SPARCStation, AT&T 3B2, RS6000
Their prices are extremely competitive. Talk to Bill Michaelson.
Chinon DS-3000 scanner supported; HP Laserjet II. - SWM. ]

8. netfax

This is the only extensive freely-available package I located.
Here are excerpts of what I have received (I have also downloaded
the latest version) :

[ Available in in /pub/systems/netfax ]

This is a set of software which provides Group 3 fax tranmission
and recptions services for a networked unix system. It requires a
faxmodem which conforms to the new EIA-592 Asynchronous Facsimile DCE
Control Standard, Service Clas 2, such as the model " Everfax 24/96 D" --
(model EV-968-51)

[ I have heard you can order through a dealer, such as Avcom in Palo
Alto. A contact there is Mark Wakup (or Karen Southerland). Avcom's
number is 326-8686.

The list price is $499. The model number is 968-51, and the product
name is Everfax 24/96D. The "D" seems to indicate that it's the
latest one, but John Dyer-Bennet told me to be sure to specify the
model number also.

Everex's main number is 1-415-491-1111 for support(?). The sales
number is 1-800-821-0806. ]

The system works by running a queue manager (faxspooler) on the host
machine with the faxmodem installed. This program scans a queue
directory for entries from user programs. Users can post faxes using
the fax program directly, or, with the proper entry in the mail
aliases file, send email to post a fax. The user can post files in
ASCII text, postscript, or TeX DVI format. They are all converted to
postscript and queued to be sent.

Incoming telephone calls to the modem are answered, and incoming faxes
are deposited in the spooler's incoming fax directory. Nothing else is
done with the received faxes, they just sit there until someone looks
at them.

The fax queue entries consist of the document to be sent as a
postscript file, and a job header file which contains the transmission
data (user, fax phone number, retry count, etc).

When a queue entry is found, the postscript document is converted to
multiple bitmap images, one per page, using the Ghostscript system.
The bitmaps are then converted to fine-resolution g3 fax format (1-d
Modified Huffman coding, 200 dpi) using the pbm Portable Bitmap
Toolkit system.

Received faxes are currently stored in the /com/fax/incoming
(or wherever you set the INCOMING directory in the conf.h file)
as g3 format files. You could use Sam Leffler's fax2tiff program
to create class F tiff files from these directly, if you wish.

Other Software You Need:

You must have Ghostscript installed, and the Portable Bitmap tools
installed in order to run this system. See the INSTALL file for
information about where to get these programs.

You should have gotten with this release a copy of 'psify', a program to
format computer programs into postscript. It also does plain ASCII
text files.

The enscript program from Adobe, or something comparable, is also
useful to format an ascii text file as a postscript file.

9. Faxpak


Klaus Schallhorn
Job Control
28 Belgravia St.
Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 2BJ
fax +44 736 330083, faxinfo@cnix.uucp


faxpak, currently at version 2.0, runs on Sun{3,4}s and SCO Xenix 2.3.2
(and compatible operating systems). The SunOS version is fully networked
and comes with client binaries for both Sun-3 and Sun-4 (Server binaries
for only one architecture). faxpak includes a mail to fax interface
(source) to allow connectivity with non Unix machines.


faxpak is compatible with five PC fax modem types typically costing
about 300 Pounds (or Dollars) (although I highly recommend US Robotic's
[previously Touchbase] Worldport 2496 where reliability and high throughput
are required. This modem is approved in most European countries and is
the one in use here). These modems connect to a serial port and don't need
specialised and costly hardware or slots on the fax server. faxpak and
a fax modem thus offer multi user network fax for about the same price
as a low end fax machine.

File Types:

faxpak understands ASCII, TeX, LaTeX, HP LaserJet II compatible HPCL
output, PostScript, PBM bitmaps and Sun Raster files. It has provisions
to add further file types requiring simply the addition of a conversion
filter and an addition to its configuration file.

Received Faxes:

Received facsimile can be viewed on screen (SunView, or EGA or VGA on
PC type hardware), printed automatically or selectively. faxpak supports
LaserJet and compatibles, PostScript and Epson compatible printers.
Phone numbers can be extracted out of the message headers and stored in
a separate file.

Sending facsimile:

faxpak supports one off faxes, aliases, distribution lists [no size limit]
and automatically generated facsimile. faxpak permits cover sheets, optionally
personalised (even from within batch jobs), normal or white on black header
and pagination lines, pasteup of letterheads.

Outgoing faxes can be saved in each users' $HOME directory. faxpak permits
automatic notification of success (or failure) and complete log extracts.
faxpak can generate accounting information for each outgoing fax.

faxes can be restricted to off peak phone rates by specifying regular
expressions allowing a granularity from international dialing prefixes to
any specific phone number.

faxpak employs a permission scheme similar to cron's. It also allows the
exclusion of specified users from any time restrictions so that some users
are prevented altogether from sending facsimile, some users' faxes are sent
always at cheapest rate and some users' facsimile are sent unrestricted.

A "pickup mode" can be set to take effect after N1 errors on faxes having
more than N2 pages. This forces faxpak to transmit only pages that have
not been confirmed at previous attempts.

Resolution, the number of attempts to transmit a fax, the time a facsimile
is permitted to sit in the queue and numerous configuration options allow
the tailoring of faxpak to local requirements. Many options can be set to
either allow user choice or to enforce site wide standards.

Sample prints:

If you send me your fax number, I send you some demo faxes at low/high
resolution to demonstrate the incredible image quality achieved by electronic

Cost and Small Print:

faxpak costs 225 Pounds Sterling [plus VAT in the UK] until Nov. 30th after
which it will retail for 375 Pounds Sterling [Non european sites: $US 360 plus
a shipping charge [AIR] of $US 25, after Nov. 30th $600]. faxpak comes with
a site licence where "site" is limited by the size of a LAN owned by the
purchaser, or to a single machine on non networked systems. faxpak 2.0 is
available since July '91.


To order faxpak state system [Sun3, Sun4 or Xenix/compatible], Media [QIC24,
QIC150 or 3.5 or 5 1/4" disk] and enclose payment. faxpak comes with separate
Users' and Installation manuals. Support is available by fax, email and phone.

Terms: CWO only.
Orders to the address given above.

10. SCINET 3000


TGI Technologies Ltd
107 East 3rd Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V5T-1C7
(604) 872-6676

and ask about the SCINET 3000 line. It does everything you want (it's
a very powerful beast), but it's a commercial product; not shareware.

11. CorporateFax


Computer Signal Corporation
Suite 225
2420 Camino Ramon
San Ramon, California 94583
(415) 275-0990


Software for sending, receiving, and managing faxes.
Handles PostScript, troff, and TeX (PS and troff require separate license)
X-based GUI
Manages a "phone book" database
Server version available to handle email-to-fax gatewaying
Server version has some privacy/security features
Requires an external fax modem connected to an RS-232 port

Available now on CD-ROM for $995. Server license for unlimited number
of users on a single fax modem line is $2195. Everfax modems ar $499;
PostScript interpreter is $200, server is $350, troff license is $400.

12. S-Bus FAX products: (info from Sun; "CATALYST" cat'lg.)

Vendor Name Product Description Price/Availability
----------- ------------------ ------------------

Antares Microsystems Fax Modem Contact vendor
Alex Chan
Helios Systems X-tend Netmodem/Fax board November 90, $1495
(408)432-0292 H/W and S/W solution for
Fax:(408)943-1309 voice, data and fax
Gordon Meyer
JTS Computer Systems Data Compression/Decompression August 90
Joe Strul using CCITT group 3 & Group 4
Xecom NewPort SB Fax/Data (9.6 Kbaud August 90
408-945-6640 Fax, 2.4 Kbaud data modem) Contact vendor
Fax:(408)942-1346 for pricing

Allen Gregory NewPort SB 2400MNP5 2400 baud October 90
                         data modem

                         NewPort SB 9600 Fax Group 3 October 90
                         send/recieve Fax modem
Aurora Technologies ?? ??
(617) 577-1288

Many thanks to: (C.R. Ritson)
Les.Zsampar@Canada.Sun.COM (Les Zsampar)
Phillip.Everson@UK.Sun.COM (Phillip Everson) (Ajay Shah)
allen@QAL.Berkeley.Edu (John R. Kilheffer)
aut! (Jim Battan) (Bill Kennedy) (Carl Chalek)
chron!magic706!sysnmc@uunet.UU.NET (Matt Cohen) (chuck strickland)
cnix! (klaus u schallhorn) (Anthony A. Datri)
dean@YP.tgx (Dean Neumann-Grant) (David Fickes) (E P Tinnel) (Fuat C. Baran)
gmd@uunet.UU.NET (George MacDonald) (Gordon Rouleau) (John Hasley) (Henry Minsky)
idgeast!! (John E Chandler) (John Taylor)
kevins@Aus.Sun.COM (Kevin Sheehan) (Ken Mason)
lemke@MITL.COM (Kennedy Lemke) (Kurt J. Lidl) (Charles McGrew) (Perry E. Metzger) (Mike Raffety) (Nicolas Chrissakis) (Paul Maclauchlan) (Peter Galvin)
pdc!malvern!westdr@uunet.UU.NET (Dave West) (Le Jazz)
rjm@Zeus.ERC.MsState.Edu (Robert J. Moorhead)
sn4idc8!amirk@uunet.UU.NET (Amir J. Katz)
sphinx! (Mark Cappel) (Steve Maraglia) (Stefan Mochnacki) (Steve D. Miller) (Matt Cohen) (Tommy Wallo) (William Unruh) (Ron Vasey)
whitney!siddiqi@sunkist.West.Sun.COM (Arshad M Siddiqi) (Jon A. Tankersley)

Special thanks to John Kilheffer, whose prose I have extensively
utilized above. Thanks also to the folks at SunWorld for pointing
out the article in the Sep. '91 issue which discusses the CorporateFax,
FAXmodem 9600, IsoFax, and HeliosCom+ products.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:33 CDT