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Re: [hylafax-users] Iternet-Fax WG Anyone?

(Sorry for responding to my own posts, and I' know I'm long winded --
sorry again)

On Tue, 3 Aug 2004, Bill Binko wrote:
> Is anyone here involved in the Internet Fax Working Group at the ietf?
> It seems that someone here should be at least on the edge of this since
> faxmail seems so close to what they're trying to standardize.

I've done a bit of research, and I think this might be important, so I'm
going to post my thoughts. (Feel free to tell me to shut up or move to
-devel if you think it's more appropriate)

The standard that the copier we're using employs to send "internet faxes"
is officially ITU-T T.37.  T.37 is a "store-and-forward" form of internet
faxing: basically, it routes fax images over SMTP.

The T.37 is based on the "Internet Fax" or "IFax" standard defined by the
ietf as RFCs 2301-2305 (with updated RFCs available at

I looked through the archives and found little to go on, except for a
brief thread in May 2001 where Lee concluded that Hylafax's faxmail and
T.37 were: "Not close at all.  Feel like coding it?"

Well, the answer to that may now be, "Maybe".

There are two forms of T.37 communication, "Simple" and "Extended".  I've
seen no devices that that support Extended, and I have not looked at the
spec.  However, I HAVE looked at the "Simple" spec
and I find it encouraging.

Before I go into that: here's why I think it's important.

One of the biggest problems we see on this board is how to get paper
documents through the server.  People still need to sign things: it's at
least one thing that people still use paper faxes for.  At my client,
we're trying desparately to get people to give up the fax machines on
their desks: they're expensive to operate, we have no record of the sent
and recieved faxes, they use dedicated phone lines, and we pay long
distance -- all-in-all: they stink!

Hylafax helps alot: we now send lots of documents from the desktop to
remote faxes, using only three lines across many users.  We also recieve
TONS (I know it's relative) of faxes from clients and route and store them

But there's still paper.

I convinced my client to get a digital copier with "scan-to-email"
capabilities.  That way, whenever possible, his people could put in a
document, and email it rather than faxing it.  Since 80% of his outbound
faxes go to 10 recipients and 9 of those agreed to accept the email, this
goes a long way to reducing costs.  I also have written a script to
archive all of those images (PDFs) and 'attach' them to entries in his
database based on recipient so that they are not lost.

I wanted to get the same benefits for their outbound paper faxes, so I
planned on writing another script that let him "scan to email to fax"
using faxmail.  Then I noticed the T.37 feature on the machine and
realized that this was worth looking into.

Many of the devices we looked at included T.37 support: Ricoh, Panasonic,
Brother, Gestetner, Sharp, Xerox, Mita, Oki, and many other manufacturers
make them (froogle is your friend).  Most of them are not, but if you're
leasing a copier anyway, adding T.37 support is usually included in the
"Scanning Option".

Basically, the Sharp gives a screen that lets you enter the fax number
just like a regular fax machine would: you just choose "Internet Fax"
instead of "Fax".  Then, it sends the TIFF-F image to the mail server
using a T.37 address.

The problem is there's no open-source T.37 gateway that I could find!

Personally, I think it would be fairly simple to modify faxmail to
accept T.37 addresses.  They are basically of the form

The error handling is simply done through standard Delivery Status
Notifications (DSNs) which most Mail Transfer Agents (Postfix, Sendmail,
etc) provide a way to send, and which certainly shouldn't be too hard to
manage, even from scratch.

I think this could be a VERY good thing.  If hylafax could be used to
leverage the new digital copiers, and the less expensive T.37 devices
coming out, I think it would make a nice complement to the desktop faxing
we already enjoy.

If there's interest in the community, please let me know: I plan on making
a simple version for my own uses, but would love to roll it back into the
main release.


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