fax from linux

Sending fax messages from a Linux machine does not differentiate that much from sending and receiving fax messages through Windows. The software is a bit different, and, generally speaking, you need a higher degree of knowledge to set everything up, but once everything has been set up, it's easy to use.

Three main methods of sending and receiving fax messages using Linux systems are:

  • Online Fax Services (compatible with Linux)
  • Using a Fax Machine
  • Using a Fax Software

Method 1: Online Fax Services for Linux Users

Most online fax services operate through a web interface alone, so if you've got a Linux PC that can connect to the internet, you have everything you need to send and receive faxes.

Before you subscribe to a fax service, make sure they are using web interface only! Some of the online fax services have pieces of software they require you to download and install them, for a separate inbox interface, and those are usually not compatible with Linux!!!

Once you have an account with an online fax service, you're good to use it from any other device you have that can connect to the internet – from a tablet, smartphone, whatever – as long as you have an internet connection you're good to send and receive fax messages.

Our guide to online faxing has a list of services that are compatible with Linux, so you may be interested in checking it out.

Method 2: Using a Fax Machine

Most of the modern fax machines and multipurpose fax scanners can be used with Linux, but before you make a purchase make sure the device is Linux compatible.
Some of the manufacturers simply don't include Linux drivers with their devices, or, even if they do, their functionality is severely limited, allowing only for the basic sending and receiving of fax messages without allowing any of the advanced features (setting up covers, sending header and footer info).
Specifics vary from model to model and from manufacturer to manufacturer, so think about which features you need the most and do your research on which fax machine you will connect to your Linux PC.

Just like faxing with a Windows PC, you need to connect your fax machine to a landline for it to be able to operate, as faxes still can't be sent purely through the internet (except by using online faxing services, which is almost cheating).
This goes for wireless and Bluetooth models as well, the wireless part is just the method PC communicates to the fax machine, fax machine itself still needs a landline to another fax machine to be able to send and receive faxes. You can not send faxes through VoIP lines!!! As to why you can check out our article on why VoIP lines and fax machines are not compatible.

Method 3: Fax from Fax Software

Sending and receiving fax messages from a Linux PC is even easier when you have a PC that's got a fax board or a fax modem connected, as all you need is appropriate software suite.
Most modern Linux distributions come with at least one by default, often having alternatives available on installation disks or in the online depositories.

All you need are a PC running a Linux OS, a fax modem with drivers compatible with Linux and a landline for your fax modem, and you're good to go.

One thing to keep in mind when using Fax Modem with a Unix machine to send and receive fax messages is the fact that your PC needs to be on to be able to send and receive messages.
Any calls received while the PC is off will be missed and you will have no notifications of them being missed!!!

The most popular suite for sending and receiving messages on Linux is Hylafax – an open source project for sending and receiving facsimiles through Linux. It's a robust and reliable system with ease of use and stability in mind.
It requires some configuration, but it supports advanced features like multiple modems and advanced faxing functionality.

There are open source alternatives, as always, but Hylafax is one of the best options. If you want to check out alternative you might check out MessagePlus/Open.

Additional resources:

Faxing in Open Office
How to set up Debian Linux Fax Server


Test drive our #1 Fax Service App for Linux users. Click here!

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