A small utility to modify display brightness
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Enlighten is a very small C utility to control the backlight brightness in Linux.


  • Leverage backlight sysfs interfaces!
  • Set brightness to a particular level!
  • Retrieve current brightness level!
  • Increase and Decrease brightness level relative to the current level!
  • Use percentage of maximum brightness or absolute steps!
  • Specify backlight device in an environment variable!
  • Specify minimum and maximum thresholds in environment variables!
  • Specify smooth transition settings in environment variables!


  • No auto-dimming
  • No brightness level save/restore (note, systemd supports this)
  • Cannot order pizzas
  • Cannot read mail (yet)


Dependencies: clang

Manual installation:

./configure --device=<device>
sudo make install

Replace <device> with the name of your backlight device. It should be listed in /sys/class/backlight. Intel graphics for example calls the device intel_backlight.

Arch Linux package: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/enlighten-git/

Run as regular user

Given that you have installed and loaded the prepackaged backlight udev rule, or that you have manually changed the group permissions on the brightness file of your device. Add your user to the video group to run enlighten as a regular user:

usermod -a -G video <username>


For usage information type enlighten help