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About OSFAX  |  Features & Benefits  |  System Requirements  |  OSFAX in Depth 

How OSFAX Transmit Works  |  How OSFAX Receive Works

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about OSFAX

OSFAX is a high performance document formatting and delivery system available for most commercial servers.

Everyone on your network can use OSFAX for:

a single repository for all your electronic forms
professional formatting using mixed text, logos, graphics, and images
automatic delivery by fax or email or printout – direct from the desktop
delivery to multiple destinations concurrently, using mailmerge
delivery of incoming faxes direct to the desktop or to a nearby printer
tracking and costing of all faxes and emails sent and received


OSFAX worldwide messaging

features & benefits of OSFAX

As well as streamlining your document formatting, printing, and delivery processes, OSFAX directly reduces your costs by:

eliminating the need for preprinted stationery
providing powerful, professional quality formatting at an affordable cost
working alongside your existing applications
intelligently minimising telecommunications costs
incorporating a voice message alert for urgent outgoing documents
can use remote network modems independent of your host, with no need for an expensive serial port MUX
internal SMTP client allows OSFAX to talk directly to your mail server without any setup on its host
all the features of dedicated fax card servers without opening the system cabinet

OSFAX’s high reliability means you can ‘set up and forget’.  Unlike many networked PC fax distribution solutions, there are no expensive internal overheads and there are reduced support requirements.

Loaded with intelligent software, OSFAX always uses the best compression algorithm available on the receiving fax machine – saving you transmission time and reducing costs.  Superior quality is ensured using error correcting mode where supported, unlike other messaging products, which use the lowest common denominator all the time.

OSFAX's user interface is fully animated, providing a consistent, always up to date view of the whole system.

OSFAX delivers your documents faster, more reliably, more cost-effectively. Plus it delivers your company a smarter, consistent corporate presentation.


OSFAX system requirements

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Serial Port, per modem

Fixed Disk Space

Database Disk Space

Memory for Preparation

Memory for Tx & Rx

CPU Load Tx & Rx
   @ 14,400bps

CPU: Preparation start
   Preparation / page

UNIX kernel resources

Windows configuration



OSFAX is available for most platforms, including Intel processors running Windows (NT4, W2K & XP), Linux, SCO UNIX (OS5 & UNIXware 7), SUN SPARC (Solaris 2.6-9), IBM RS6000 (AIX 4 & 5), HP 9000 (HPUX 11), Alpha (True64 Unix V4 & 5).  Contact Osiris for details on other ports.

19,200 bps 3 wire TTY for fax
TCP terminal server RAW port
Ishare router modem

5-10 Mb

30Kb per different page, typical

8-12 Mb (32bit)

250 Kb per modem

1 MIPS typical per line

30M Instructions
30M Instructions

One semaphore set size the number of
database users + one of 2 for each line

None required

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OSFAX in depth

OSFAX is a high performance, multiuser, host based document formatting and delivery system available for most commercial servers.  Typically OSFAX runs on a server, alongside an application that produces transactional document outputs (eg purchase orders) that need to be graphically formatted and delivered.  Once this gateway is in place and maintained, it may be used by everyone on your network.

Document Formatting and Routing

OSFAX provides a single document formatting and delivery environment with a single repository for all your electronic forms.  These forms may be used to overlay print data from classical applications for delivery via PDF email, fax, paper and to online archives.

The document destination type and delivery method are automatically detected from the format of the destination address.  A document may be sent to multiple destination types concurrently.


Fax Transmission

OSFAX will transmit either Postscript® language or plain text documents via Group 3 facsimile.  The graphical output of desk top publishing or word processing systems including FrameMaker®, TeX, Microsoft Word®, WordPerfect®, and Macintosh products may transmitted as facsimiles.  By utilising the Postscript language, OSFAX provides for transmission of mixed text, graphics and images.

By designing OSFAX so that it can be used via print spooling systems, Osiris has made it possible for all users on computer networks to send their facsimiles from the one facility.  Even if you have mixed proprietary and open networks, with OSFAX running on one of the network nodes, all users on the network can send facsimile jobs via the print spooling system.

Transmission of facsimiles is fully automatic.  If transmission is interrupted for any reason OSFAX will automatically retransmit those pages that were not completed successfully in the earlier attempt.  OSFAX saves money by not retransmitting pages which have already been successfully received.

Utilising an inbuilt telephone book OSFAX can deliver to multiple recipients in one process.  You may send form letters directly by facsimile to the frequently used facsimile numbers stored in the telephone book.  Large telephone number and email lists may be stored under a single telephone book label.  Telephone book entries and telephone numbers within OSFAX may be set up to make external database queries for number lists upon demand, reducing duplication of information.

Any destination may be a list of alternate destinations so that if delivery fails to one entry in the alternate list then the next in the list is tried automatically.

To provide the best possible presentation OSFAX allows you to customise the header which appears on each page. This includes the page number in the form "Page 1 of 3".

There are many options for controlling facsimile transmission. Most of these can be set within transmit configurations.  All can be ignored for simple use of OSFAX.  Multiple configurations support the user who has sophisticated or complex requirements in large organisations, or those with high facsimile utilisation.  Different transmit configurations may be used for different applications with individual urgency and transmit retry requirements.

There is fully featured support for mail merge transmissions from your WP system to multiple, separate recipients.  Mailmerge jobs are kept as a unit throughout processing even though individual facsimiles might be scheduled for transmission at different times.  Only one mail item is returned to the sender with one line per document delivered.  This same facility is used to keep batches of transactional documents, such as purchase orders, together.

OSFAX avoids the need for more staff training by allowing facsimiles to be sent from within your WP, database or other applications by using "Faxcontrol" lines in the document.  Users do not need to learn about another product or exit from their application to send facsimiles.


Fax Reception

OSFAX will receive Group 3 facsimiles. Upon receipt a nominated group of users is informed via electronic mail of the incoming facsimile which may then be viewed on a graphics screen and then assigned to the recipient who is in turn informed by electronic mail of their incoming facsimile.  The facsimile can be viewed on a graphics terminal and/or printed on most printers.  Where no graphics screens are available the system can be setup to automatically print all incoming facsimiles, emulating a plain paper facsimile machine.

OSFAX can terminate an indial group from your PBX, routing direct to individual users, effectively giving you direct facsimile to the desktop.

Facsimiles can be removed at any time by their owner and, if desired, the system can automatically store all facsimiles received as archive copies.  Facsimiles can be removed without printing if desired, avoiding consuming resources on junk faxes.  Partial printing of facsimiles by page range is supported.

A Motif based receive environment is available with a high performance image viewer - pan, zoom, sub-second page flip time and animated icon.  The GUI interface is designed to be left running and does not consume much memory while in the iconised state, either in the client or server.

Receive documents may be stored online in a hierarchical library for each user indexed by a global keyword index.  Originals of forms may be stored and printed when required.  Forms received by fax may be filled in on the PC client then faxed back to their sender without having to handle any paper.

When receiving facsimiles they are printed on plain paper, giving you a permanent high quality record.

OSFAX can map incoming transmit identifiers to a name that means something within your organisation, providing a much more user friendly "from" field than the regulation number only.



Each OSFAX modem connects to a single RS232 serial port on your host computer or terminal server.  You may utilise OSFAX on the same line as your ordinary facsimile machine if desired.  Multiple modems can be supported on the same computer system.  Each modem can be configured for send and/or receive - any time or off peak.

Osiris Technology can supply remote network modems based on the Netcomm Ishare.  These modems may be connected anywhere on your TCP/IP network.  OSFAX understands that modems may be in different geographical locations and can cost minimise based upon its configurable charge tables.  No serial ports are required on your host.  Network modems use less host resources than serially connected modems.


Productivity Gains & Cost Savings

You can make significant savings in time and money by eliminating the need to go to the facsimile machine and wait around for retries. Utilising OSFAX, each person with access to a computer terminal can send facsimiles without leaving their desk.  All facsimiles are spooled then processed in the background and queued for transmission.  The user is informed by electronic mail when the transmission has been successful.  If the transmission fails a configuration defined number of times the system informs the sender via e-mail so that the facsimile number can be checked.   There are multiple system administration facilities to govern the frequency and timing of retries.  A history of successfully called numbers is kept to modify retry policies when a number is known to be a facsimile number.

OSFAX aids in efficient costing of your office expenses by accounting for outgoing facsimiles by sender and destination.  A document reference and account name may also be recorded against each outgoing facsimile.  Complete carrier charge tables are provided and used to calculate the cost of each facsimile and email delivery.

OSFAX has the ability to significantly reduce your telecoms costs by intelligently time scheduling your facsimile load to minimise cost.  OSFAX keeps a database of the current telecoms charges to and from each numeric prefix throughout a week long period as the basis of the cost minimisation algorithm.  As each facsimile is submitted a time window for transmission and reception is specified (or picked up from system defaults) that gives OSFAX the flexibility it requires to schedule each job within the current workload for overall minimum cost.  Where modems in different locations are available, the cheapest to the destination is used.

Unlike most host based modem facsimile software OSFAX will utilise the fastest method of image transfer available at the receiving machine.  Other software utilises the lowest common denominator which can double transmission time and costs.  OSFAX supports error correcting mode to ensure perfect delivery of facsimiles.



Perhaps the most important feature of OSFAX is the presentation quality of the output at the receiving end.  Because the output is generated directly, and not by a scanner within a facsimile machine, the output is close to laser printer resolution.  All your lines are straight!

Security is provided to prevent unauthorised access to all facsimiles.  Other objects in the system such as cover pages, overlays, number lists and attachments may be restricted to a subset of users if required.


Special Features

SMTP CLIENT: OSFAX includes an SMTP client so that you need not set up the host running OSFAX in your mail network, rather just point OSFAX to your mail server for delivery to email destinations. Saves setting up sendmail on UNIX hosts.

FILE TRANSFER: OSFAX provides facilities for error free binary file transfer and direct EDI transaction exchange utilising T.30 ITU-T international standard protocols.

OVERLAYS: OSFAX has a facility to process ASCII print files generated by older applications and convert these into full graphical documents, split them up by destination and send them.  You can think of this processing as emulating a printer loaded with pre-printed stationary.  The overlay facility can be set up to pick up signatures that depend upon the content of the document - very useful for purchase orders that need signatures by different originating purchasing officers.  The overlay facility may be used to print documents directly on PostScript laser printers at full printer resolution thus providing a single source document for each company form.  A full range of barcodes are supported.

FAX ON DEMAND: OSFAX may be set up to provide an information service by attaching a fixed document to each modem that is sent to any facsimile machine that calls in (poll mode).  OSFAX can also set up a pool of numbered documents that may be selectively retrieved using a specific poll request from any line.

INTEGRATION: OSFAX has been designed with integration to other UNIX and PC network applications in mind.  Your other applications can take advantage of the command driven access or the "Faxcontrol" access methods provided.  By emulating a network printer OSFAX is ideal for use on open system networks with mixed UNIX and proprietary hardware.  OSFAX is designed for high volume applications where you want to set up and forget, just like any other multiuser service.