vgetty - Man Page

voice extension to the mgetty+sendfax program


vgetty [options] ttydevice

vgetty is not meant to be run from the command line.

Systems with SysV initscripts should start vgetty from the /etc/inittab file so it can respawn after each call. Here is a typical inittab entry:

S0:345:respawn:/usr/local/sbin/vgetty ttyS0

If you already have a line in your inittab file which invokes mgetty, replace it with vgetty, since it replaces/extends its functionality.

systemd - vgetty contains vgetty@.service unit file template. It is possible to enable an instance of a vgetty to run on a particular device (e.g. systemctl enable vgetty@ttyS0.service). See systemd.unit(5) for further details.


vgetty is an extension to the mgetty+sendfax program which provides an interface to voice-capable modems. Use it to operate your modem as a simple answering machine or build your own sophisticated voice messaging system. vgetty handles all the voice-modem specific protocols, giving application programs a uniform, modem-independent voice library. Supported modems include many common serial modems from 3com/USRobotics, Elsa, Multitech, ZyXEL, and others. Caller ID and Distinctive Ring are supported provided you have subscribed to these services from your phone company. Software-based modems (winmodems) are not supported.

vgetty comes with tools to convert au/wav/voc sound files to/from the format used by most supported modems. Basic editing and filtering of sound files is included as well. See pvf(1) for more information.


vgetty accepts the same options as mgetty. The one's relevant to voice mode are given here. See mgetty(8) for other options related to data and fax modes.


Use autobauding (change port speed to modem CONNECT speed). There is no voice modem that needs this, the option is just documented for completeness.

-m 'expect send ...'

Set the chat sequence that is used to initialize the modem. For an empty expect part, use empty double quotes (""). Since the sequence contains spaces, you will have to enclose all of it in single quotes (''). Example:

vgetty -m '"" ATH0 OK'

-n <rings>

Set the number of rings after which vgetty will answer the phone

-s <speed>

Set the serial port speed to use, e.g. "-s 38400". This is the speed of communication between the computer and modem in bits/sec (baud).

-x <log level>

Set the log verbosity level. Zero (0) means no logging, six (6) is really noisy. Use level six (6) when sending problem reports to the maintainer. The log file is /var/log/vgetty.ttyXX.


vgetty sets the following environment variables when calling external programs:


The caller's telephone number.


The number the caller has dialed. Useful for ISDN with multiple incoming phone numbers on the same physical line.


The connect string as reported by the modem (e.g. "38400/V.32bis/V.42bis ... ", etc.).


The tty device being used (e.g. "ttyS0"). Useful for handling multiple devices ("messages on this line are for work, messages on the other line are personal").


vgetty is included in the mgetty+sendfax distribution. For the latest release, go to:

The vgetty maintainer's home page is at:

Send problem reports to:

For information on mgetty, go to:

The mgetty mailing list is at The mailing list is mirrored to the de.alt.comm.mgetty newsgroup.



Main configuration file for vgetty. Many options here override the equivalents found in /etc/mgetty+sendfax/mgetty.config


If this file exists, vgetty will not answer calls on device ttyXX.


Debug log file for vgetty.


List of greeting messages to use.


Access code for remote playback of messages using the script


vgetty touches this file when a new message is received


Used by the script to record last time of message playback


If vgetty doesn't work they way you think it should, check the log file. By default, it is located in /var/log/vgetty.ttyXX (for the vgetty process handling device ttyXX, e.g. ttyS0).


vgetty supports most standard voice modems, but many modems are not fully compliant with relevant standards or contain firmware bugs. If you have problems, try upgrading your modem to the latest firmware revision. If you discover a bug with how vgetty reacts to your modem, please email the maintainer ( describing your problem. Include relevant excerpts from the log file (set log level to six first), and details about your modem (including firmware revision) and operating system.

See Also

mgetty(8), pvf(1)


version 0.60 vgetty manual