Fedora Core 2 on a Dell Inspiron 8600
gi8k is a GAI front-end to the i8k module. This module is specific to dell laptops and reports temperature and fan speed. It also allows the control of the fans. The gi8k applet allows a great deal of control over the fans on the Dell laptop. At this stage I haven't felt their is a need for this. Indeed the default temperature settings in gi8k match the temperature that the fans come on normally. This applet would be rarely needed from what I can see. Use the information at your own risk and do not turn off the automatic fan control option even if enabling manual fan control.
Having said all that it is pretty cool to be able to control the fans when needed. If you run on an ac-adaptor regularly it would allow you to run the system quite a bit cooler than normal at the cost of having the fans run more often.
GAI needs to be installed first. It is a typical installation from source. Unzip the source file and do a ./configure, make and make install at the command line. Next install gi8k in a similar manner. See the INSTALL files of both for details.
Before running gi8k the i8k module needs to be inserted into the kernel. At first I thought the module wasn't in the kernel tree. Then I read a page that indicated that a force=1 option needs to be added. Run the following at the command line.
# modprobe i8k force=1
The gi8k applet looks like it is designed to run as a dockapp style applet in a window manager like Window Maker. I found I needed to use the option outlined in the README file to disable this and run it in a small window. Run the following the first time you use gi8k.
# /usr/bin/gi8k --gai-broken-wm
Once running right click on the applet to bring up the prefernces dialog. Having also installed GKrellM I found gi8k tracks the temperature reported by GKrellM but one degree cooler.