Section 2 : Client Applications

Q201: How do I view received facsimile?

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How do I view received facsimile?

Just a quick question - what do you use to view incoming faxes? xv wants to allocate an 8 bit/pixel bitmap, and takes forever to display an image on my linux box. It also doesn't seem to be able to display anything other than the first page (not that I've looked real hard). I had a look through the archives, and found xtiff. It loads faster, and I hacked it to display lowres faxes in the right aspect ratio, but it doesn't have a page preview mode (ie, you can only see a small part of the page at any one time), and it periodically dumps core in XCreateImage(). What other choices are available?

There are at least three solutions:

Many people use the fax2ps or tiff2ps programs together with GNU ghostview; e.g.

   fax2ps /var/spool/hylafax/recvq/faxVAAa0051G | ghostview

There is also faxview, an unfinished, but usable, X-based viewer in the contributed software area on

Frank Cringle wrote an excellent viewfax program. This is not part of the HylaFAX distribution. From the author:

Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1996 07:09:34 -0800
From: Frank D. Cringle < >
Subject: viewfax-2.4 released

A new version that fixes some minor bugs is available at

and at

in the frontends/X11 subdirectory of the latest mgetty beta.

If you are using version 2.3 without problems there is no need to
upgrade.  Error recovery has been improved and a bug that caused
garbled displays on certain X-servers has been fixed.

Date: Fri, 09 Aug 1996 07:54:18 -0700
From: Sam Leffler <>
Subject: Re: FAQ Suggestion - RE:Q20: How do I view received facsimile?

    To: (Andrew C Scheele)
    Subject:  Re: FAQ Suggestion - RE:Q20: How do I view received facsimile?
    Date: Fri, 09 Aug 1996 11:29:24 +0200
    From: (Matthias Apitz)

    Andrew C Scheele wrote:
    [cc'ed: Sam Leffler]
        Anyway I reckon I've come up with a nice little solution, which may be 
        useful here:
        >From mgetty the faxes get processed by a shell script called new_fax, 
        assume that hylafax has something similar.
    Yes, see man faxrcvd(1M);
        In this shell script I convert the faxes into a gif and keep them in 
        spool directory - It needs two programs from the pbm set, something 
        g3topbm | pnmtogif.
    Received faxes are stored in the spooling area ($SPOOL/recv/) as
    files like fax0004711.tif (until they get purged by faxcron(1M)).
    The format is TIFF/F.
        That's great but now we need to access them.  This is my little trick.
    To access received files there are the following options:
    - you may just want a list of all received files in the spooling area:
      $ faxstat -r
      HylaFAX scheduler on kant: Running
      Modem ttyFN01 (+49.89.6130883): Running and idle
      Modem ttyFN02 (+49.89.61308xxx): Running and idle
      Protect Page  Owner        Sender/TSI  Recvd@ Filename
      -rw-r--    3  5        49 711 9xxxxxx 02Aug96 fax00049.tif
      -rw-r--    1  5        +49 89 3xxxxxx Fri01PM fax00050.tif
      -rw-r--    4  5        +49 89 5xxxxxx Mon10AM fax00051.tif
      -rw-r--    2  5        +49 341 xxxxxx Tue05PM fax00052.tif
      -rw-r--   11  5        +49 89 5xxxxxx Wed12PM fax00053.tif
      -rw-r--    5  5        +49 6221xxxxxx Thu03PM fax00054.tif
      -rw-r--    3  5        +49 341 xxxxxx Thu04PM fax00055.tif
    - you may view them with tools like xv(1), fax2ps(1), ...
      $ faxview /usr/local/lib/HylaFAX-v4.0/spool/recvq/fax00055.tif
    - you may copy them to your own system using the HylaFAX
      client server protocol (as descibed in man hfaxd(1M));

If you setup the RECVFMT string that controls the format of output
from doing a LIST on the recvq directory then you can view use a
WWW browser to view and retrieve files from the directory.  man hfaxd(1M).
        I have created a cgi script in perl that will query the directory and 
        write an html wrapper for all faxes in the directory and then output a 
        nice tabularised summary of the faxes available.
        Click on the link and hey presto there's your fax!

Sure, I believe several other folks have done similar things.
        A second cgi script is available to print selected faxes & rotate them 
        permanently (I haven't yet come across a web browser that will let you 
        rotate graphics).
        I'm currently working on getting this to add a thumbnail of the first 
        page and keep track of comments eg who from, recipient etc.
        So now I can get at my faxes from anywhere in the company, from 
        virtually any browser (lynx doesn't do that well) and from home with a 
        slip connection.
Yes, this was the intent.  In fact there are hooks for hfaxd to directly
implement an HTTP spigot that provides access to the all the functionality
of the fax service via a forms-aware browser.

    Sounds good.
        It would need some modification to work with hylafax, mainly to detect 
        the resolution and caller id, which are embedded in the mgetty file 
        name, but if anyone wants a go e-mail me.
    This information is part of the TIFF/F file in the spooling area and
    may be printed to stdout with faxinfo(1M):
    $ sbin/faxinfo *55.tif
        Sender: +49 341 xxxxxxx
         Pages: 3
       Quality: Fine
          Page: North American Letter
      Received: 1996:08:08 16:44:44
    TimeToRecv: 2:29
    SignalRate: 9600 bit/s
    DataFormat: 2-D MR

Actually there is much more info than the above.  Everything you
should need is stored *inside* the file.  Using filenames to store
information is a mistake (in my experience).
    Thanks for your feedback anyway. Please post your hints to
    the HylaFAX mailing-list. If you have some tools available
    for HylaFAX send me a pointer (URL) and I'll include this
    pointer into the FAQ.
If you package up your scripts and/or tools and put them in the
incoming directory in then I can create a place for
them in the contrib area.  If you do this please be sure to include
a README file that identifies you as the contact.


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