i8krellm Fan Monitor for Dell Inspiron 8200

This page describes how I got the i8krellm tool, a plug-in for gkrellm, to work with my Red Hat 8 installation. I assume you're running gkrellm version 2. If not, why not get it?


You've got to get the pieces first. Here's what and where:
i8k kernel module
It comes with RH8, but it isn't installed by default. For testing purposes, you can do insmod i8k to load it. In general, you'll want a more permanent solution that always loads i8k when you boot your system.
i8kutils package
This is the package that uses i8k and can read fan speeds, CPU temperature, etc. Get it from freshrpms.net.
gtk+-devel and imlib-devel packages
You can get these from the RH8 CDs. Unfortunately, they have dependencies. I ended up using synaptics, a GUI front-end for apt, a system that automatically resolves dependencies for packages, to download the two packages I needed, plus everything they needed.
gkrellm v2 source RPM
I got mine from freshrpms.net.
i8krellm tarball
Get it here.

Big Picture

You will build i8krellm and install it in a gkrellm plug-in directory. The hardest part was accumulating all the pieces, above. I also had to make some small changes to the i8krellm Makefile, to pick up the include files for gkrellm, and to install the built plug-in in the right place.


  1. When you "installed" the gkrellm source RPM you created /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES/gkrellm-2.1.9.tar.bz2 (for example). Unpack it under some convenient directory; call that G.
  2. Unpack the i8krellm tarball under some convenient directory. Call that directory I.
  3. Copy gkrellm include files into the ik8rellm directory tree. (Assume i8krellm version 2.5, gkrellm version 2.1.9.)
    	$ cd I/i8krellm-2.5
    	$ mkdir gkrellm2
    	$ cp G/gkrellm-2.1.9/*.h gkrellm2
  4. Modify the Makefile.
    1. Each place there's a Makefile variable INCLUDE, prefix the value with -I.. For example, change
      	    GTK_INCLUDE = `gtk-config --cflags`
      	    GTK_INCLUDE = -I. `gtk-config --cflags`
    2. Change the plug-in destination (variable SINSTALLDIR2) from /usr/share/gkrellm2/plugins to /usr/lib/gkrellm2/plugins.
  5. Phew! Now, if all goes well, running make i8krellm2 will go just fine. If so, do make site_install2 as root to install it in the plug-in directory.

    It's probably a good idea to save the output of both make commands, in case of trouble. The two most likely problems are:

    1. The plug-in fails to build, because it couldn't find the gkrellm headers.
    2. The plug-in doesn't show up in gkrellm's list, because it got installed in the wrong place.


You're done with the hard part. Now let's see whether it works.
  1. Restart gkrellm. Hit F1 while your cursor is over the gkrellm display. You should find "Dell I8K Plugin" in the Plugins listing. (If you don't, it probably means you didn't install the plug-in in the correct directory.)
  2. Before you click on Dell I8K Plugin, beware that you'll start getting a bunch of error messages when you do. They're not serious, but you need to beware. Once you click on the plug-in, you'll get a configuration page. Quickly type i8kfan in the "i8kfan utility:" text box and click Apply. The error messages should stop.
  3. My fans went on right away, and the temperature display in gkrellm showed something like 104 F. You'll want to click "Celsius" under "Temperature Units", because that's the units of the temperatures in the Temps tab. When you click Apply, the fans will probably turn off again.
  4. Configure the rest to your heart's content. Beware, though, that i8krellm is now controlling your machine's fans. If you screw up the settings in the Temps tab such that the fans don't operate at appropriate temperatures, you can probably cook your CPU.

Good luck!

Dave Kristol, dmk-yahoo@kristol.org
Last modified: 15 March 2005