1. This patch is still pending review upstream. Thanks for your continued patience folks.
2. There was a recent official Lucid kernel update (2.6.32-23 #37), necessitating a rebuild of my "i915 brightness" test kernel. The latest build for Lucid (based on the current #38 development tree) is available here: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kamal/i915bri~3e/latest-lucid/ (source patch in the parent directory). To install this kernel, download the three .deb files and install them using:
sudo dpkg -i linux*kamal*.deb
After rebooting, verify that "dmesg | grep backlight" yields the following line, signifying that the backlight will be controlled by the i915 driver:
acpi device:04: registered as backlight/i915