The area you are writing about not concerns basic fax/voice operation but your personal outlook as to what you want. This isn't a bad thing but software companies can't tailor their product to "you" quite yet.
If we can cut through your issues, I will make one suggestion (or more).
1. Windows 98 is dead.
As such, whatever you find will be mired in that era of when we expected to reboot our machines many times a day or put up with bugs.
You may revolt on this issue, but the end is here. I know of no company actively targeting Windows 95/98/ME.
2. Faxing is tough already.
That's the short version. To get fax/voice to work I never found a software package that "worked" with my modem. The only successes I can share are in the "bundled" modem and software packages. All others failed in some way. Exception! I take that back if we look at the Linux Fax solutions. Those were quite stellar, but do strain users.
3. MS FAX or XP FAX.
It's a factor here. With FAX supplied in Windows XP, the incentive for others to develop and market a fax solution has never been worse.
Some parts of the world still eat, live, breath FAX, but the office rarely gets them now. We just need one FAX machine for each floor.
5. Symantec's FAX.
Of all the solutions WinFaz still was the overall software that I used that worked "most of the time". For you this may not be good enough.
Best of luck in your search.
I have been shopping, since last December. I have tried HotFax (a real stinker); a voice mail program which came with a modem I purchased and installed (not enough features); SuperVoice Pro (better than HotFax but still terribly problematic). Other programs I have researched had less features for more money. I don't think the problems I encounter when trying to install Faxworks in Windows 98 are in any way insurmountable, but I lack the knowledge to solve them.