Fax on a 400 MHz iMac DV

I used to fax a lot with Apple’s OSes, so this was an important feature to duplicate if I were to use Gnu-Linux. I’m happy to say that I have been successful. I knew that this should be possible because my modem is a hardware modem, as opposed to a ‘winmodem’ (or is the correct term ‘macmodem’?). How did I know it was a hard modem? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I recalled related old models have hard modems, and my iMac DV is old.

On Hoary, this is what I did to install the app:

sudo apt-get install efax-gtk

I came across three problems. These were fairly easy to diagnose.

First off, you should identify the modem:

dmesg | grep modem

That gave me:


Thus, ‘ttyS0’ is my modem.

As I couldn’t find efax-gtk in the xfce4 gui sub-contextuals, I passed “efax-gtk” in term:


I found three caveats, and the following addresses them.

Problem One:
Modem was not selected.

efax-gtk &

and go into

Mode -> Serial Device -> and change ttyS1
to match “dmesg | grep modem” output (‘ttyS0’ in my case).

Problem Two:
Phone number syntax problem.

Make sure you do NOT put dashes (only spaces) in your ‘return’ fax number, and use an area code. ie.,

Problem Three:
Faxed sheet gets cut off on the sides.

Set the paper size to “A4” rather than the presumably correct “letter size” (under ‘file -> settings –> page’); We don’t use anything other than “letter size” around here, but “A4” oddly fixes the paper size issue. (“A4” should give a longer but thiner page than the letter size (8.5 x 11) [Note: “A4” is 8.27 x 11.69.])

Running the program
When running the app, it has a console that gives you a play by play of the fax. Red lettering is ‘bad’ and this will give you a clue to any problems. It’ll also tell you if the fax delivery was successful.

Maurice Cepeda
a.k.a. Chascon

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