Dim on idle does not brighten with activity

Bug #199522 reported by Omegamormegil on 2008-03-07
58
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-power-manager (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned
Nominated for Hardy by Graham Clenaghan

Bug Description

Running up to date Hardy alpha. My laptop LCD dims, today, if left alone for some time, but I have to manually turn the brightness back up (using the keys on my keyboard) when I come back to the computer. In the gconf-editor, my default brightness was set to 100, and the caption notes that the possible values are between 1 and 100, but full brightness for me is actually a value of around 350. After correcting the default max brightness value in gconf-editor, it re-brightens fine.

Omegamormegil (omegamormegil) wrote :

Confirmed per Bug #205372.

Martin Erik Werner (arand) wrote :

Same problem here, running up to date Hardy Beta. This has been working on Gutsy and earlier Hardy Alphas for me, but not now.

It appears my laptop goes into a "chronical state of dimmed" since when I plug in or out the AC it still remains at dimmed brightness (although the AC dim-state is slightly brighter). If I turn the brightness up manually (OEM function keys) then it will remain there temporarily, but as soon as I (un)plug the AC it goes back to this dimmed state.

If I follow the suggestion in bug description above I get the right "undimmed" brightness, BUT, the screen then refuses to dim down from that.
I'm suspecting that it still thinks it's dimmed, and that I've just upped the dimmed brightness by doing that.

Paulo J. S. Silva (pjssilva) wrote :

Confirming.

Same problem here. If I try to increase the maximum value to 350, the screen does not dim after I unplug AC and the dim does not kick in after inactivity. Another interesting twist is that the dim level varies if I try to unplug and re-plug the laptop many times in a row.

My video card is an Intel 945GM.

Graham Clenaghan (origin191) wrote :

Same problem -- with a Lenovo ThinkPad R61. At least brightness control works at all, unlike Gutsy.

Ted Gould (ted) wrote :

I believe I have a fix for this with the GPM in my PPA.

http://launchpad.net/~ted-gould/+archive

Could those who are seeing this please verify? Thanks. Ted.

Changed in gnome-power-manager:
status: Confirmed → Fix Committed
Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) wrote :

I'd be happy to give it a try but could you explain a bit how to do it? I suspect I have to add your PPA to my sources.list, update and upgrade but I'm a bit leery about doing it that way as I may get more than just this one change and tracking could be harder. Is there a simple way to just update the gpm?

On Thu, 2008-04-10 at 03:57 +0000, Jim Hutchinson wrote:
> I'd be happy to give it a try but could you explain a bit how to do it?
> I suspect I have to add your PPA to my sources.list, update and upgrade
> but I'm a bit leery about doing it that way as I may get more than just
> this one change and tracking could be harder. Is there a simple way to
> just update the gpm?

Yes. You can either just select gnome-power-manager in synaptic or you
can use the command line and type:

   $ sudo apt-get install gnome-power-manager

Either will just install the updated GPM as long as you've added the PPA
to your sources list.

Graham Clenaghan (origin191) wrote :

Works perfectly! Thanks! :D

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) wrote :

Yes, this is an improvement. thanks. When the display dims on inactivity, resuming activity brightens the screen. However, the display does not dim on inactivity regularly. While testing this it would dim after maybe 30 secs to a min. After a few cycles it stopped dimming. Maybe I need to wait longer each time, but I gave it several minutes of inactivity and it never dimmed again.

The GPM in Ted Gould's PPA fixes the issue for me. I may be wasting my breath but please please please include this fix in hardy.

Ted Gould (ted) wrote :

On Thu, 2008-04-10 at 05:10 +0000, Jim Hutchinson wrote:
> Yes, this is an improvement. thanks. When the display dims on
> inactivity, resuming activity brightens the screen. However, the display
> does not dim on inactivity regularly. While testing this it would dim
> after maybe 30 secs to a min. After a few cycles it stopped dimming.
> Maybe I need to wait longer each time, but I gave it several minutes of
> inactivity and it never dimmed again.

Jim, actually that's a feature. Basically GPM backs off if you're just
catching it when it goes idle and immediately waking it up again. It
basically assumes that you're time is set too short for what you're
working on. It's timing the amount of time you leave it idle.

Now, it should starting idling again after a while. Please open another
bug if that is not the case.

The packages from Ted Gould's repository fixes my issue. Thanks a lot! (I hope the updated package will be pushed to Hardy).

I'm not sure if this is the same bug/feature as above, but after manually changing the backlight (using the brightness applet), gpm does not seem to dim on idle.

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) wrote :

Ted,

I actually wondered about that but my only other experience with a computer dimming when idle is OSX and as far as I can tell it isn't that smart. Good to know Ubuntu is smarter. Thanks for the effort. Out of curiosity, are the adjustments to the timing permanent or session based? In other words, if I catch it too many times and it increases the time, will that new length be permanent or does it reset the next time I boot?

Yes, Ted could you please explain the details of your smart dimming?

Ted Gould (ted) wrote :

On Thu, 2008-04-10 at 14:59 +0000, Jim Hutchinson wrote:
> I actually wondered about that but my only other experience with a
> computer dimming when idle is OSX and as far as I can tell it isn't that
> smart. Good to know Ubuntu is smarter. Thanks for the effort. Out of
> curiosity, are the adjustments to the timing permanent or session based?
> In other words, if I catch it too many times and it increases the time,
> will that new length be permanent or does it reset the next time I boot?

Well, this isn't something new, it's actually been there for a while --
I think that idle dimming just didn't work well enough for people to
notice :)

Basically what it does is look at the time you were idle. If it was
less than 10 seconds, it doubles the wait time. When you leave it idle
for two minutes then it resets back to the original value.

Also, I want to give credit where it is due; this isn't my feature, it
is a feature of the upstream GNOME Power Manager.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package gnome-power-manager - 2.22.1-1ubuntu4

---------------
gnome-power-manager (2.22.1-1ubuntu4) hardy; urgency=low

  * Adding in patch 10_keyboard_brightness_gconf.patch which fixes some
    cut-and-paste errors in the keyboard brightness server which set the
    wrong gconf keys.
  * Updating 04_brightness_events.patch so that idle changes work when
    we're not on AC and work in the right direction. Also updating so
    that we're not using the GCONF key for AC brightness just a fixed
    value as some people have very different values for AC and it isn't
    required for the logic. LP: #199522

 -- Ted Gould <email address hidden> Thu, 10 Apr 2008 06:27:11 -0700

Changed in gnome-power-manager:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Omegamormegil (omegamormegil) wrote :

Thanks for the fix, Ted! This might need to be filed as a different bug, but I notice that when I set the brightness_ac value in gconf-editor to 100 (the named maximum), after the now functional dimming and re-brightening it doesn't actually brighten to the max for my LCD as it should according to my settings, as far as I know. After re-brightening, I can use the brightness control keys on my keyboard to increase the brightness a bit further. Does anyone know of a setting I am missing that is the cause of this issue, or is it another bug?

I also notice that setting the max value for brightness_ac above 100 breaks the dimming feature. Perhaps the brightness applet is also breaking the dimming, as Khashayar Naderehvandi seemed to notice.

Paulo J. S. Silva (pjssilva) wrote :

Dim on idle seems to be working right now for me too.

However I have noticed a problem that is easy to reproduce and is related to some of the posts above:

1) Turn on the laptop on AC
2) After logging in unplug and replug the laptop to AC many times.

After each the unplug-replug cycle the final brightness is different, with a clear trend to decrease. Time for a new bug report?

Ted Gould (ted) wrote :

On Thu, 2008-04-10 at 18:58 +0000, Paulo J. S. Silva wrote:
> After each the unplug-replug cycle the final brightness is different,
> with a clear trend to decrease. Time for a new bug report?

Yes, please. It's an additional power-saving measure :)

Pat Double (patdouble) wrote :

This is still broken for me. When I am on AC and the LCD dims and I move the mouse the undimmed value is less than full. I have not tried to inspect or change anything in gconf-editor, but I don't think I should need to. Using the keyboard to adjust the brightness back up works, although a dim-undim cycle causes the brightness to be one notch less than full again. If I should file a separate report please let me know.

gnome-power-manager:
  Installed: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
  Candidate: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
  Version table:
 *** 2.22.1-1ubuntu4 0
        500 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com hardy/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

pelle.k (pele2) wrote :

Same here. Everytime it goes back up from "dim", it decreases until it hits some magic bottom. I've got a brightness range of 0-8. I adjust it to 7. then, let me illustrate;
idle > 7
dim > 4
idle > 6
dim > 4
idle > 5
dim > 4
idle > 5
dim > 4
idle > 5

And this is what happens when i adjust to 7 (idle) then pull the power and let it run on battery, then put the AC in again (repeatedly);
power > 7
battery > 4
power > 6
battery > 3
power > 5
battery > 2
power > 4
battery > 1
power > 3
battery > 0
power > 2
battery > 0
power > 2
battery > 0

Also, i have to adjust the brightness level myself at each reboot (i do it automatically in rc.local with "cat 7 > /sys/devices/virtual/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness).

gnome-power-manager:
  Installed: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
  Candidate: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
  Version table:
 *** 2.22.1-1ubuntu4 0
        500 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com hardy/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

Omegamormegil (omegamormegil) wrote :
  • unnamed Edit (2.8 KiB, text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1)

Great observations. I now notice that I also experience this as it pertains
to dimming/brightening and plugging/unplugging. Could you create a new bug
including the information you've gathered to get the ball rolling? Post
here with a link to the bug report, so I can subscribe. Thanks!

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 10:49 AM, pelle.k <email address hidden> wrote:

> Same here. Everytime it goes back up from "dim", it decreases until it
> hits some magic bottom. I've got a brightness range of 0-8. I adjust it to
> 7. then, let me illustrate;
> idle > 7
> dim > 4
> idle > 6
> dim > 4
> idle > 5
> dim > 4
> idle > 5
> dim > 4
> idle > 5
>
> And this is what happens when i adjust to 7 (idle) then pull the power and
> let it run on battery, then put the AC in again (repeatedly);
> power > 7
> battery > 4
> power > 6
> battery > 3
> power > 5
> battery > 2
> power > 4
> battery > 1
> power > 3
> battery > 0
> power > 2
> battery > 0
> power > 2
> battery > 0
>
> Also, i have to adjust the brightness level myself at each reboot (i do
> it automatically in rc.local with "cat 7 >
> /sys/devices/virtual/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness).
>
> gnome-power-manager:
> Installed: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
> Candidate: 2.22.1-1ubuntu4
> Version table:
> *** 2.22.1-1ubuntu4 0
> 500 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com hardy/main Packages
> 100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
>
> --
> Dim on idle does not brighten with activity
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/199522
> You received this bug notification because you are a direct subscriber
> of the bug.
>
> Status in Source Package "gnome-power-manager" in Ubuntu: Fix Released
>
> Bug description:
> Running up to date Hardy alpha. My laptop LCD dims, today, if left alone
> for some time, but I have to manually turn the brightness back up (using the
> keys on my keyboard) when I come back to the computer. In the gconf-editor,
> my default brightness was set to 100, and the caption notes that the
> possible values are between 1 and 100, but full brightness for me is
> actually a value of around 350. After correcting the default max brightness
> value in gconf-editor, it re-brightens fine.
>

Paulo J. S. Silva (pjssilva) wrote :

I have already created a bug report to address the problem of decreasing brightness values. The big number is
215484. See:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-power-manager/+bug/215484

Pelle.k, could you add you discoveries to that bug report?

pelle.k (pele2) wrote :

Sure thing. Thanks!

BandD (swords-into-plowshares) wrote :

I have the same issue as pelle.k:

"Same here. Everytime it goes back up from "dim", it decreases until it hits some magic bottom. I've got a brightness range of 0-8. I adjust it to 7. then, let me illustrate;
idle > 7
dim > 4
idle > 6
dim > 4
idle > 5
dim > 4
idle > 5
dim > 4
idle > 5"

I ran a debug script and basically, when it is, boiled down it's the same issue (full version attached for anyone interested). After each dim, the resulting default restore brightness is diminished one level. I can change the brightness to value "7" again (100%) via the brightness applet, but something in gpm is causing the 'restore' brightness level to decrease by "1" level each dim/undim cycle.

BandD (swords-into-plowshares) wrote :

This issue had been resolved for me using a patched version of gpm found at the end of the following bug report for those interested:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-power-manager/+bug/215484

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