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I recently got a backlit keyboard, and I LOVE to write late at night.

But I cannot for the life of me figure out how to light it up...It lights up when first plugged in, but nothing happens after that....

It is an 'XtremeIT' keyboard. There is a video of someone on Ubuntu who managed to activate it...

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We need to know what kind of backlit keyboard it is, is it usb, built into a laptop etc. – Martin Owens -doctormo- Nov 18 '10 at 18:37
What model is the keyboard? I have the old G15 and mine lights up fine. Usually the keyboard itself has a button to enable/dim/brighten the light. – James Denham Nov 18 '10 at 18:48
XtremeIT keyboard :) Sorry, should of mentioned that sooner! – Dante Ashton Nov 23 '10 at 13:18
Does the keyboard have problem only with Ubuntu machine and works fine with other platform? Sorry if am sounding foolish. – user11230 Feb 21 '11 at 21:23
Can i do this on my mac ?? can some one explain me how ? – user311086 Jul 31 '14 at 20:12

Did you try the script the youtube poster suggested in his own comments? Basically use xset to toggle the state of the led backlight.

if [ -f /tmp/keyboard_light ]; then
xset -led 3 && rm /tmp/keyboard_light
xset led 3 && touch /tmp/keyboard_light

(I would have made this a comment on your original question, but I don't have enough rep yet.)

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for those who land here because they also want the keyboard to light up BEFORE the login screen:

Finally Found an answer, at least for Ubuntu 14.04

as for how to get the keyboard to light up before the login screen:

edit :


sudo gedit /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/50-unity-greeter.conf

add the line:

greeter-setup-script= xset led 3 
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Found the answer after a long night up with lots of half baked solutions.

# backup your symbols file
sudo cp /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/us{,.distribution} 

Add the following line in the xkb_symbols "basic" { section. do not worry if that second line is not there, it is only there for some languages and was not there for us on my system.

    modifier_map Mod3   { Scroll_Lock }; <==<< Add this line

    include "level3(ralt_switch)" <==<< before this line

You may have to do the same in your other layouts if you switch between languages

Also, there is a cache where xkb layouts live. You should clear it before restarting your X server to check the new keyboard symbol file(s).

sudo rm -f /var/lib/xkb/*
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