Monday, December 16, 2013

How to set default (startup) screen brightness in Ubuntu 13.10

Extending battery life can be achieved by limiting screen brightness. Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) by default sets screen brightness to 100%. I have found that 50% screen brightness is more than adequate for indoor viewing. Saucy currently doesn't save your screen brightness settings when you log out or shut down. Through some web searches, I discovered "xbacklight". It's a command-line utility to set your screen brightness. You install it, add it to your startup programs and set the screen brightness to a default level of your choosing.

xbacklight is available through Ubuntu Software Center or via the terminal ("sudo apt-get install xbacklight").

Search (super-key) for "Startup".
Click on "Startup Applications".
Click the "Add" button.

Name: xbacklight
Command: xbacklight -set XX (Where "XX" is the numerical percentage of screen brightness)

Here is a screen-shot:

Save your new Startup Application and restart to test your new default screen brightness!


  1. It's really easy to get the function keys for brightness working in Ubuntu 13.10, just make sure you log-out after adding the keyboard shortcut (Warrenbert feel free to add picture to your post)

  2. To make the sound volume buttons working, just click on the line/item you want to set a keyboard shortcut for, then press that actual key:

  3. People willing to try this out?

  4. Thank you for all the good information you gathered for chromebook 14 owners. I have a question if you have time to answer it.

    I want to get rit of the dev screen on which i have to press ctrl+l everytime for the legacy boot. I know i have to set the bios writeable for that but could you please help me on what i have to do exactly?

    And if i add a larger ssd to this chromebook, can i reinstall ubuntu from usb disk? zo without chrubuntu?