Linux kernel uses /sys subsystem to store and communicate system information and states. Temperature information could also be obtained from the subsystem, though it is not in standard location and format. The information and structure differ between hardware manufacturers and models, along with the associated kernel module that loads such information.

lm-sensors is a command-line utility provided by libsensors that tries to address the issue by mapping this information into an easily accessible interface, where other programs can read and configure the values. It also provides userland tools for finding and reporting these values.

You can install and use lm-sensors to view information such as CPU and overall system temperature in Linux from the terminal.

Step-by-step video guide:

Steps to view thermal (temperature) information in Linux:

  1. Launch your preferred terminal application.
  2. Install lm-sensors for your system.
    $ sudo pacman -S lm_sensors # Mint
    $ sudo yum install --assumeyes lm_sensors #Red Hat, CentOS
    $ sudo dnf install lm_sensors # Fedora
    $ sudo apt update && sudo apt install --assume-yes lm-sensors #Ubuntu, Debian
    $ sudo zypper in sensors #SUSE
  3. Probe available sensors in your system using sensors-detect.
    $ sudo sensors-detect --auto
    # sensors-detect revision $Revision$
    # System: Dell Inc. Latitude E5470 (laptop)
    # Board: Dell Inc. 0VHKV0
    # Kernel: 5.0.0-20-generic x86_64
    # Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz (6/78/3)
    Running in automatic mode, default answers to all questions
    are assumed.
    Some south bridges, CPUs or memory controllers contain embedded sensors.
    Do you want to scan for them? This is totally safe. (YES/no):
    Module cpuid loaded successfully.
    Silicon Integrated Systems SIS5595...                       No
    VIA VT82C686 Integrated Sensors...                          No
    VIA VT8231 Integrated Sensors...                            No
    AMD K8 thermal sensors...                                   No
    AMD Family 10h thermal sensors...                           No
    AMD Family 11h thermal sensors...                           No
    AMD Family 12h and 14h thermal sensors...                   No
    AMD Family 15h thermal sensors...                           No
    AMD Family 16h thermal sensors...                           No
    AMD Family 17h thermal sensors...                           No
    AMD Family 15h power sensors...                             No
    AMD Family 16h power sensors...                             No
    Intel digital thermal sensor...                             Success!
        (driver `coretemp')
    ##### snipped
    Client found at address 0x52
    Probing for `Analog Devices ADM1033'...                     No
    Probing for `Analog Devices ADM1034'...                     No
    Probing for `SPD EEPROM'...                                 Yes
        (confidence 8, not a hardware monitoring chip)
    Next adapter: i915 gmbus dpc (i2c-1)
    Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively):
    Next adapter: i915 gmbus dpb (i2c-2)
    Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively):
    Next adapter: i915 gmbus dpd (i2c-3)
    Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively):
    Next adapter: DPDDC-A (i2c-4)
    Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively):
    Next adapter: DPDDC-C (i2c-5)
    Do you want to scan it? (yes/NO/selectively):
    Now follows a summary of the probes I have just done.
    Driver `coretemp':
      * Chip `Intel digital thermal sensor' (confidence: 9)
    To load everything that is needed, add this to /etc/modules:
    #----cut here----
    # Chip drivers
    #----cut here----
    If you have some drivers built into your kernel, the list above will
    contain too many modules. Skip the appropriate ones!
    Do you want to add these lines automatically to /etc/modules? (yes/NO)
    Unloading cpuid... OK
  4. Start lm-sensors service if it's not already started (optional).
    $ sudo systemctl start lm-sensors
  5. Configure lm-sensors service to automatically start during system boot.
    $ sudo systemctl enable lm-sensors
    Synchronizing state of lm-sensors.service with SysV service script with /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install.
    Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install enable lm-sensors
  6. View temperature information for your system.
    $ sensors
    Adapter: Virtual device
    temp1:        +32.0°C
    Adapter: Virtual device
    temp1:        +33.0°C
    Adapter: ACPI interface
    temp1:        +25.0°C  (crit = +107.0°C)
    Adapter: ISA adapter
    Package id 0:  +34.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Core 0:        +34.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Core 1:        +34.0°C  (high = +100.0°C, crit = +100.0°C)
    Adapter: Virtual device
    Processor Fan:    0 RPM
    CPU:            +34.0°C
    Ambient:        +31.0°C
    SODIMM:         +33.0°C
    Other:          +32.0°C

    Harddrive temperature information is not available via lm-sensors but could be viewed using hddtemp.
    Related: How to view harddrive temperature in Linux

  7. Install GUI applications or applets for your desktop environment (optional).
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