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Desktop Independent Power Manager
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daemon daemon: setDisplayBacklight Apr 21, 2019
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powerkit.pri initial daemon #20 Apr 5, 2019



powerkit is an lightweight desktop independent full featured power manager, originally created for Slackware for use with alternative desktop environments and window managers, like Fluxbox, Blackbox, FVWM, WindowMaker, Openbox, Lumina, Draco and others.

screenshot screenshot


  • Enables applications to inhibit the screen saver
  • Enables applications to inhibit suspend actions
  • (Hybrid)Sleep/Hibernate/Shutdown/Lock screen on lid action
  • Inhibit lid action if external monitor(s) is connected
  • Automatically suspend ((hybrid)sleep/hibernate)
  • Hibernate/Shutdown on critical battery
  • Simple and flexible configuration GUI
  • XScreenSaver support
  • Back light support


powerkit is an user session daemon and should be started during the X11 startup session. If your desktop environment or window manager supports XDG auto start then powerkit should automatically start, if not you will need to add powerkit to your startup file (check the documentation included with your desktop environment or window manager).

  • In Fluxbox add powerkit & to the ~/.fluxbox/startup file
  • In Openbox add powerkit & to the ~/.config/openbox/autostart file.


Click on the powerkit system tray, or run the command powerkit --config (or use powerkit.desktop) to configure powerkit.

Screen saver

powerkit depends on XScreenSaver to handle the screen session, the default (XScreenSaver) settings may need to be adjusted. You can launch the (XScreenSaver) configuration GUI with the xscreensaver-demo command.

Recommended settings are:

  • Mode: Blank Screen Only
  • Blank After: 5 minutes
  • Lock Screen After: enabled + 0 minutes
  • Display Power Management: enabled
    • Standby After: 0 minutes
    • Suspend After: 0 minutes
    • Off After: 0 minutes
    • Quick Power-off in Blank Only Mode: enabled

Note that powerkit will start XScreenSaver during startup (unless org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver is disabled).

Back light

powerkit supports back light on Linux through /sys/class/backlight. The current brightness can be adjusted with the mouse wheel on the system tray icon or through the configuration GUI (bottom left slider).

Note! udev permissions are required to adjust the brightness, on Slackware an example rule file is included with the package (see /usr/doc/powerkit-VERSION/90-backlight.rules). You can also let powerkit add the rule during build with the CONFIG+=install_udev_rules option.

Hibernate (HybridSleep)

A swap partition (or file) is needed by the kernel to support hibernate/hybrid sleep. Edit the boot loader configuration and add the kernel option resume=<swap_partition/swap_file>, then save and restart.

Note! some distributions have hibernate disabled (for Ubuntu see com.ubuntu.enable-hibernate.pkla).



No, powerkit should work on any Linux/FreeBSD system (check requirements). However, powerkit is developed on/for Slackware and sees minimal testing on other systems (user feedback/bugs for other systems are welcome).

How does an application inhibit the screen saver?

The preferred way to inhibit the screen saver from an application is to use the org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver specification. Any application that uses org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver will work with powerkit. Note that powerkit also includes SimulateUserActivity for backwards compatibility.

Popular applications that uses this feature is Mozilla Firefox/Google Chrome (for audio/video), VideoLAN VLC and many more.

How does an application inhibit suspend actions?

The prefered way to inhibit suspend actions from an application is to use the org.freedesktop.PowerManagement specification. Any application that uses org.freedesktop.PowerManagement will work with powerkit.

Common use cases are audio playback, downloading and more.

Google Chrome/Chromium does not inhibit the screen saver!?

Chrome does not use org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver until it detects KDE/Xfce. Add the following to ~/.bashrc or the google-chrome launcher:



powerkit requires the following dependencies to work:

Build dependencies

Run-time dependencies


powerkit will use the existing icon theme from the running DE/WM, else check the GTK settings then fallback to Adwaita if no theme was found. So you should have (a proper version) of Adwaita installed or enable CONFIG+=bundle_icons when building powerkit.

You can override the icon theme in the ~/.config/powerkit/powerkit.conf file, see icon_theme=<theme_name>.


First make sure you have the required dependencies installed, then review the build options:

Build options

  • PREFIX=</usr/local> : Install target.
  • XDGDIR=</etc/xdg> : Path to xdg autostart directory.
  • DOCDIR=<PREFIX/share/doc> : Path to the system documentation.
  • MANDIR=<PREFIX/share/man> : Path to the system manual.
  • DBUS_CONF=</etc> : Where the dbus-1 config folder is located.
  • DBUS_SERVICE=</usr/share> : Where the dbus-1 service folder is located.
  • GROUP=<users>: User group that is allowed to use the daemon, should be a common group used by desktop users.
  • USER=<root>: Run the daemon as this user, must be allowed to write to /dev/rtc.
  • CONFIG+=no_doc_install : Do not install application documentation.
  • CONFIG+=no_man_install : Do not install application manual.
  • CONFIG+=no_desktop_install : Do not install the application desktop file.
  • CONFIG+=no_autostart_install : Do not install the XDG autostart desktop file.
  • CONFIG+=install_udev_rules : Install additional power related udev (backlight) rules
    • UDEVDIR=</etc/udev> : Path to the udev directory.
  • CONFIG+=install_lib: Build and install shared library.
    • CONFIG+=no_include_install: Do not install include files.
    • CONFIG+=no_pkgconfig_install: Do not install pkgconfig file.
  • CONFIG+=bundle_icons: Bundle a set of fallback icons (Adwaita), this will add 200k to the binary size.

Build application

mkdir build && cd build
qmake .. && make

Then just run app/powerkit or app/powerkit --config, or install with:

sudo make install

Package application

qmake PREFIX=/usr
make INSTALL_ROOT=pkg_path install
├── etc
│   ├── dbus-1
│   │   └── system.d
│   │       └── org.freedesktop.powerkitd.conf
│   └── xdg
│       └── autostart
│           └── powerkit.desktop
└── usr
    ├── bin
    │   └── powerkit
    ├── sbin
    │   └── powerkitd
    └── share
        ├── applications
        │   └── powerkit.desktop
        ├── dbus-1
        │   └── system-services
        │       └── org.freedesktop.powerkitd.service
        ├── doc
        │   └── powerkit-VERSION
        │       ├── ChangeLog
        │       ├── LICENSE
        │       └──
        └── man
            └── man1
                └── powerkit.1


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