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November 10, 2022 20:40
October 26, 2021 23:51
December 16, 2022 23:40


Thinkfan is a simple, lightweight fan control program.


There's only very basic sanity checking on the configuration (semantic plausibility). You can set the temperature limits as insane as you like.

Any change to fan behaviour that results in higher temperatures in some parts of the system will shorten your system's lifetime and/or cause weird hardware bugs that'll make you pull out your hair.

No warranties whatsoever

If this program steals your car, kills your horse, smokes your dope or pees on your carpet... too bad, you're on your own.

Building and installing

To compile thinkfan, you will need to have the following things installed:

  • A recent C++ compiler (GCC >= 4.8 or clang)
  • pkgconfig or an equivalent (pkgconf or pkg-config)
  • cmake (and optionally a cmake GUI if you want to configure interactively)
  • optional: libyaml-cpp for YAML support (the -dev or -devel package)

E.g. on a debian-based system that usually boils down to:

sudo apt install -y cmake-curses-gui build-essential cmake g++ libyaml-cpp-dev pkgconfig libsensors-dev
  1. In the thinkfan main directory, do

    mkdir build && cd build
  2. Then configure your build, either interactively:

    ccmake ..

    Or set your build options from the command line. E.g. to configure a build with full debugging support:

     cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=Debug ..

    CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING can also be Release, which produces a fully optimized binary, or RelWithDebInfo, which is also optimized but can still be debugged with gdb.

    Other options are:

    USE_NVML:BOOL (default: ON) Allows thinkfan to read GPU temperatures from the proprietary nVidia driver. The interface library is loaded dynamically, so it does not need to be installed when compiling.

    USE_ATASMART:BOOL (default: OFF) Enable libatasmart to read temperatures directly from hard disks. Use this only when you really need it, since libatasmart is unreasonably CPU-intensive.

    USE_LM_SENSORS:BOOL (default: ON) Use LM sensors to read temperatures directly from Linux drivers. The libsensors library needs to be installed for this feature, probably with required headers and development files (e.g., libsensors-dev).

    USE_YAML:BOOL (default: ON) Support config file in the new, more flexible YAML format. The old config format will be deprecated after the thinkfan 1.0 release. New features will be supported in YAML configs only. See examples/thinkfan.conf.yaml. Requires libyaml-cpp.

  3. To compile simply run:

  4. If you did not change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX, thinkfan will be installed under /usr/local by doing:

    sudo make install

    CMake will detect whether you use OpenRC or systemd and install some appropriate service files. With systemd, you can edit the commandline arguments of the thinkfan service with systemctl edit thinkfan. With OpenRC, we install only a plain initscript (edit /etc/init.d/thinkfan to change options).