I recently started using a window manager (XMonad) and am enjoying it. The only issue is I have to reconfigure a lot of the the function keys (volume, brightness, etc) to do what they're supposed to do. I've been able to figure out everything except for the brightness.

All the solutions using xbacklight or xrandr I've found online seem to do absolutely nothing. For instance, xbacklight -get gives no output.

I'm running Ubuntu 16.04 on a Dell xps 13.


It will on the Dell XPS work with the tool light.

You need to compile the software. It is very easy, but you may need to install the developpertools and git before:

sudo apt install build-essential git

Then you can proceed to downloading and compiling the code. First clone the source code of light. Alternatively, you can download the source as a zip file and extract that on your local drive. Here, we use git:

git clone https://github.com/haikarainen/light.git

Change current directory to the downloaded folder, compile and install:

cd light
sudo make install

Assign following commands to hotkeys to increase or decrease brightness

light -A 5 # increase screen brightness
light -U 5 # decrease screen brightness

You may need to install

  • Thank you! This is perfect! – Samuel Barr Mar 24 at 12:54
  • I have a Dell XPS 13 myself ;) – vanadium Mar 24 at 13:09

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