Thinkpad fan control is an open source program for Linux (Ubuntu specifically) which monitors your laptop temperatures and fan speeds. It can be used to speed up/ slow down the fans for temperature or noise control, and can even shut off the fans completely if you wish to destroy your laptop. I have been using version 0.82 of this program ever since I got my laptop, and today when I was backing up my files I saw the 0.82 deb and wondered if there was a new version. There is, and there is also an Launchpad (kind of like Sourceforge, but for Ubuntu and better) repository for the program. So I do not really know how well this program has progressed since version 0.82 (current is 0.92) as I am writing this while I do it.

If you want more information on Thinkpad Fan Control (tp-fan) before installing it, check out it’s Launchpad page at https://launchpad.net/tp-fan and it’s homepage at http://www.gambitchess.org/mediawiki/index.php/ThinkPad_Fan_Control

If you want to install tp-fan and get automatic updates through Ubuntu’s update manager then follow the following instructions. If you don’t, just download and install the .deb at https://launchpad.net/tp-fan/+download

and the obligatory warning from the author:
“WARNING: THIS PROGRAM MAY DAMAGE YOUR COMPUTER.
PROCEED ONLY IF YOU KNOW HOW TO MONITOR SYSTEM TEMPERATURE.”

The Install:
First step is to install the Launchpad repository for tp-fan. Do this the graphical way by going to System > Administration > Software Sources
and then the “Third-Party Software” tab. Click add and paste in:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/surban/ubuntu hardy main

Then press “Close” and “Reload” when it asks you.

Then open a terminal and enter
sudo apt-get install tpfand tpfand-profiles tpfan-admin

and enter “y” when it asks you to install these without verification (it asks these because they are not official Ubuntu packages)

To use the program go to
System > Administration > Thinkpad Fan Control

again, be VERY CAREFUL using this program if you turn off anything. All I ever really use this for is to turn all the fans up to 100% if my laptop starts to get hot, but most of the time I leave it on hardware controlled as that does a pretty good job. (As a note, turning all the sensors to 100% for me lowered all of the temps about 9 degrees C after a little while.

-aliencam