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Santa’s Surprise: Free Faxing Returns for FreePBX 16

As most of you know, free faxing with HylaFax, AvantFax, and IAXmodem has been an integral component of Incredible PBX since its introduction. That changed with the Incredible PBX 2022 Beta release last week because of the FreePBX® 16 prerequisite of a PHP 7.4 platform. That prompted us to become a student again and explore the possibility of deploying two simultaneously available versions of PHP. AvantFax is the web GUI for sending and receiving free faxes. It is no longer under active development and depends upon PHP 5.6 to function. Thus, we were faced with the Hobson’s Choice of deploying PHP 7.4 for FreePBX 16 or PHP 5.6 for AvantFax. We chose the lesser of two evils in the initial release of Incredible PBX 2022 by choosing to support FreePBX 16. Today we finally have good news.

We’ve managed to restore the full functionality of Incredible PBX including free faxing by reconfiguring PHP 7.4 and PHP 5.6 to run simultaneously. Incredible PBX 2022 now can be deployed with Asterisk® 19, FreePBX 16, and AvantFax happily coexisting. To get this working, you’ll need a Debian 10 platform running Incredible PBX 2021. Once you have it up and running, here are the steps to add the latest Incredible PBX 2022 Beta including faxing.

1. Install Incredible PBX 2021 on Debian 10 platform
2. Run /root/incrediblefax2021-debian10.sh to install free faxing
3. Set the Apache and FreePBX admin passwords:
    /root/apache-pw-change /root/admin-pw-change
4. Reboot
5. Verify that pbxstatus shows everything working
6. Obtain FQDN linked to your server’s public IP address
7. Verify access to Incredible PBX using this FQDN
(NOTE: Do this NOW before proceeding or step 11 will fail)
8. Install Incredible PBX 2022 Beta
9. Reboot
10. Verify that pbxstatus shows everything working
11. Run install-dual-php script to activate dual PHP stack:

cd /root
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/install-dual-php
chmod +x install-dual-php

Now you should be able to login to FreePBX using your server’s public IP address.
And you should be able to login to AvantFax using the FQDN you created (step 6).
At the first login prompt for AvantFax, it’s asking for your Apache admin credentials (step 3).
Then you’ll be prompted for your AvantFax admin credentials. Default is admin:password

We hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Originally published: Saturday, December 25, 2021

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  1. Is there an alternative to AvantFax, perhaps one that doesn’t require a PHP version that’s been EOL for three years? And is under active development?

    [WM: Short answer is nothing that is free. To be honest, PHP 5.6 use with AvantFax is the least of our worries. With Incredible PBX, AvantFax has its own layer of authentication while also being protected by our Linux firewall’s whitelist, Fail2Ban, and Apache authentication. You might be surprised to know that the default version of PHP with CentOS 7 is 5.4.]

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