Monday, May 11, 2009

Hardware Monitor for Kubuntu

One thing I missed in my "new" old linux system is a hardware monitor tool to pick up the temperature, fan speed and any other statistics available directly from my hardware... in windows, there were so many to pick from and plenty of reviews and articles. I was surprised such a tool was not bundled with the Kubuntu Installation and nor did any turn up in the Add/Remove App.

The good news is that it is available for linux but is not as simple as install and run as in most stuff in linux. In fact, the hardware monitoring is actually present in the default installation of Kubuntu 8.04 through the lm-sensors package (verify this is already installed from Adept or Synaptic manager and install this if not present).

However lm-sensors has no UI. Presenting a choice of 2 UI tools, K-Sensors and Kima, to fill in this gap.

Note: lm-sensors is not a driver package - it will simply use drivers already installed by Kububtu. This works fine for most desktops but in the case of laptops, chances are slim that kubuntu drivers will be present for hardware monitoring. So lm-sensors wont help.

But before you use these UI tools, you need to setup your system by doing the following:
1) Open a terminal (simply open Konsole in Kubuntu).

2) Next, you need to run a program from lm-sensors package to detect and list all your hardware that has sensors.
Run the following command and hit Enter (yes) to all the subsequent prompts except the last one, "Do you want to add these lines automatically?" (unless you really want to)
sudo sensors-detect

This program will show at the end a summary of all the hardware modules that needs to be added for monitoring
Something like:
#----cut here----
# Chip drivers
#----cut here----

Note: If you get a message like "no sensors detected", this most probably means none of your hardware have sensors or your kubuntu drivers are not able to detect them

3) Next you need to include the linux kernel modules detected by running the modprobe command for each of the modules between "cut here"
So for the example above, type and run each of the following (normally you need to prepend with "sudo" to run in admin mode):
sudo modprobe it87
sudo modprobe coretemp

That's it. Now you can install (do it from Adept or Synaptic of course) and run your selected UI tool.

Ksensors can be started normally from the KDE start menu. You'll need to go to it's options menu and add the neccessary sensors you want to monitor.

Kima will not be present in the start menu as it is actually a Kicker applet. To start Kima, right click your bottom panel, select add Applet to panel and select Kima from the list. Kima will run as an applet in Kicker. Again you would need to go to it's conigure menu and add the sensors you want to monitor.

Finally, verify that the values you see in the sensor are accurate as they may be garbled by a factor or 2 sometimes (actual Sensor readings are usually accessible in your system bios).

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