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VSI-FAX is a popular commercial fax application. Although it can be used for desktop faxing and for inbound faxes, the most common use is probably automated faxing of documents printed by some application.

A "printer" that faxes isn't hard. Here's a model script for Sys V printers:

# ignore most arguments
open(I,$file) or $err=$!;
@stuff=<I>;close I;
#  this is just for debugging 
foreach(@stuff) {
   print O "$x :$_";
close O;
# The fax number is on the 12th line of the form
$faxnum=~ tr/0-9//cd;
chomp $faxnum;
$faxnum=~ s/^  *//;
$faxnum=~ s/  *$//;
#  We also pick up a custom tag - the vendor name
$tg1=~s/ /_/g;
# if no fax number print a message to a different printer
if ($err or not $faxnum) {
  open(O,"|/usr/bin/lp -dRECEIVING");
  print O "Fax request from $login problem\n";
  print O "No faxnumber $faxline \n" if not $faxnum;
  print OO "Fax request from $login problem\n";
  print OO "No faxnumber $faxline \n" if not $faxnum;
  print O "===============\n";
 foreach(@stuff) {
   print O $_;
   print OO $_;
close O;
close OO;
exit 0;

$cmd="/usr/vsifax/bin/vfx -t tg1=$tg1 -n $faxnum $file";
# just for debugging again
print O "POFAX $login $cmd\n";
close O;
# spools the fax to vsifax
exit 0;

Notice the line that handles "tg1". VSI-FAX has four custom tags that you can use for any purpose. These won't be part of the outgoing fax, but we can access them in vfxolog. We'll see that shortly. First, let's see how we'd use this script.

For System V spoolers, you'd put the script in the lp model directory. For example, that's /usr/spool/lp/model on SCO. I called it POFAX, and created my fax printer as follows:

/usr/lib/lpadmin -p POFAX -v /dev/null -m POFAX
/usr/lib/accept POFAX
enable POFAX

For CUPS, I might use the socket idea presented at CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) print to file - the hard way!. I like that better than messing with configuration files. It's also fairly portable - if the spooler system can go to a network port, you can do it that way.

To see the tags, you need to tell vfxolog what you want to see. I do that with this "vflog" script:

$cmd="/usr/vsifax/bin/vfxolog -f \"seq,sbt,npg,nps,tfn,ars,rrs,att,tg1\"";
$hdr="Req-id  -Submitted-     npg nps  Phone number     Attmpt Result att  Vendor\n";
print $hdr;
foreach ( @stuff) {
  @line=split /,/;
  $line[1]=substr($tm,0,4) . "/" . substr($tm,4,2) . "/" . substr($tm,6,2);
  $line[1] .= " " . substr($tm,8,2) . ":" . substr($tm,10,2);
  $line[4]= substr($tm,0,3) . " " . substr($tm,3,3) . "-" . substr($tm,6);
  $save="$line[0]   $line[1]   $line[2]   $line[3] $line[4]     $line[5]  $line[6] $line[7] $line[8]";
  print "$save\n";
  if ($cnt == 10) {
    print "More... ";
    exit 0 if $m =~ /[qQ]/;
    print $hdr;
    $cnt %= 10;

You could make this much neater; I didn't make the extra effort to align fields (that's easily done with "printf").

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