I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W520 with 12.10 installed on it. The specifics are:

Linux corellia 3.5.0-19-generic #30-Ubuntu SMP Tue Nov 13 17:48:01 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

It works fairly well, but I have one main issue with it - the brightness controls on my keyboard (or if I go into the display menus) don't work properly. When I touch the brightness down on my keyboard, it shows the gnome brightness control bar going down in the upper right corner of the screen, but it doesn't actually affect the brightness.

Actually, what it does is that it doesn't affect the brightness initially. If I suspend the laptop by closing the lid and then restoring it, it will come back on with the specified brightness setting.

My intuition is that this has something to do with having an improper kernel (i.e. I've heard thinkpads require a special ACPI kernel), but I read (in my previous attempts to solve this problem) that newer kernels (since I think 2.6) had it integrated in the trunk, and thus didn't need a special package.

Not that long ago, I actually upgraded from 64-bit 11.04 Ubuntu, which worked a bit better. Specifically, ACPI actions worked really well there. So, I'm wondering if perhaps I forgot a configuration issue I did when I first set up 11.04.

  • Any reason to be on 3.5.0-19-generic still? Please run your system updates. – gertvdijk Feb 4 '13 at 15:22
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    @gertvdijk: Yes, actually I have a dock system with multiple monitors. I have difficulty whenever the kernel is updated, since the custom nvidia driver needs to be recompiled and re-loaded. I don't have anything against updating, I just don't want to do it too frequently, since it's a pain to get everything working again. – jwir3 Feb 14 '13 at 16:20
  • Seems like you installed the Nvidia driver the wrong way then. It should automatically rebuild and install in any new kernel being installed, within seconds, using DKMS. If you've installed it from the Nvidia website, then you're doing it wrong. It may also be the cause for your issue. Please use the Ubuntu packages. Anyway, it's hard to get support on these sort-of-bugs if you're not running the latest updated version within a Ubuntu release. Again: please run your system updates. – gertvdijk Feb 14 '13 at 16:27
  • Yes, I know I am doing the nvidia driver a special way, but it's because I need to do it to get it working with the setup I have. :| Unfortunately, the nvidia driver that comes from apt doesn't work with my setup in the same way that the nvidia released drivers work. – jwir3 Feb 15 '13 at 18:42
  • I will retry installing the updates, though, and see if that helps. – jwir3 Feb 15 '13 at 18:42

I think you will have better luck with using Ubuntu 14.04? I installed it on my W510 and the brightness works fine as long as you use the standard built-in video driver and not the NVIDIA driver.

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