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Answering machine on your Linux box

We'll be using Vgetty, part of the mgetty package. The official site is http://alpha.greenie.net/vgetty. You probably not have to visit the site because just about every distribution carries it. We grabbed the mgetty package off our SuSE CD. The version used is 1.1.12. Alternatively, you can download the release along with the mgetty source package from http://aplha.greenie.net/mgetty. The latest version on site that we saw on the site was 1.1.25. Grab the source if you like.

Installation from source is easy.

Untar the source

tar zxvf mgetty1.1.25-Feb01.tar.gz

Change into the new directory

cd mgetty1.1.25

cp policy.h-dist policy.h

We need to edit the Makefile to change some of the default settings.

vim Makefile

Look for CONFDIR. Remove the $(PREFIX) bit so that the configuration files reside in /etc/mgetty+sendfax. Look around at the other defaults and customize if you like.



Enter the voice sub-directory and compile the necessary programs.

cd voice


make install

For RPM fans all you need to do is rpm -Uvh mgetty-1.1.21-91.i386.rpm

The default configuration directory should be /etc/mgetty, or /etc/mgetty+sendfax as in our SuSE installation. For those installing from source, you will need to copy the sample voice.conf-dist file into your configuration directory.

cp voice.conf-dist /etc/mgetty+sendfax/voice.conf

Open this file and read through it. The file is very well commented and you should definitely spend some time reading through.

Search for the following parameters and customize your installation.

voice_dir - Point this to the directory that holds your answering machine message as well as your incoming messages.

rings 3 - Replace the 3 with the number of rings after which the phone is picked up.

voice_devices - Add the device where your modem is connected. COM1 would be ttyS0, COM2 would be ttyS1, and so on.

port ttyS0 - Put in the port on where your modem connects.

Now open /etc/inittab and add the following line to it. Check for and comment out any lines that invoke mgetty.

S1:23:respawn:/usr/local/sbin/vgetty ttyS0

Now you need to record the message that you want to be played when the phone is picked up.

If you have a microphone that you can plug into the mic port on the modem then all you need is this command.

vm record standard.rmd