Quick: Monitoring your computer's temperatures in Ubuntu 18.10

Quick: Monitoring your computer's temperatures in Ubuntu 18.10

After recently re-applying better thermal paste for the GPD Pocket 2, I wanted to also be able to keep an eye on system temperatures while running Ubuntu. Fortunately there is a pretty easy app for that, that you can use regardless of what machine you're running Ubuntu on. This application is called Psensor.

While there are probably other apps out there, this one seems to be fairly easy to use, and while its graph does not always seem to instantly update, it has a handy option where you can show the current temperature of your sensor of choice in the menubar.

I recommend you also install lm-sensors, and possibly hddtemp too if you need this. These both provide temperature readings to psensor.

sudo apt install lm-sensors hddtemp psensor

After installing these packages, launch psensors, it should show a list of all sensors it can find/access right away. On my machine it seemed to have an issue with showing the graph section, somehow hiding it completely every now and then, so if that happens for you too, try dragging the list of sensors from the left-most side. The screen should sort of split out into two sections, with the left section exposing the graph.

Enabling one (or more) of the sensors to show their readings in the menubar for easy reference.

Showing a temperature reading in the menubar

To enable this, click the menubar icon, followed by Sensor Preferences. Now select the sensor whose readings you'd like to show in the menubar from the list on the left, then click the Application Indicator tab, and enable Display sensor in the label (experimental). You can show multiple sensors' temperature readings in the menubar, which can be quite handy if you'd like to keep an eye on several parts of your system.

Launch at login

To automatically have psensors launch at login, click the menubar icon and click Preferences. Then, under Startup, enable Launch on session startup. I personally also enabled Hide window on startup so that it won't get in the way, but I do get the sensor icon in my menubar.

Enabling desktop alerts with a reasonable threshold will help you keep important temperatures in check.

Enable alerts

The application also supports sending desktop notifications for sensors you select, and with thresholds you specify. To do this, click the menubar icon and click on Sensor Preferences. Now select the sensor you'd like to create an alert for from the list on the left, and click on the Alarm tab. Enable the Activate desktop notifications checkbox, and set your desired high and optionally low thresholds. You can do this for multiple sensors, too.

That's all there is to it. You can now monitor your system temperatures from within Ubuntu. This is especially useful on mobile devices like the GPD Pocket 2, so you can comfortably turn its fan off and, should your system reach higher temperatures, you can simply re-enable the fan and have it cool down. Pretty nice.