A utility for setting keyboard backlight on System 76 devices

This is a VERY BASIC utility for setting backlight brightness and color on System 76 computers. Use at your own risk. I tested this against my 2022 Gazelle.


This software currently only works for single-zone keyboards. Some System76 models have a multi-zone keyboard with different /sys/ files used change the color. If you run this code and it doesn’t work, you probably have a multi-zone keyboard, try this:


I have included the binary as a convenience, but feel free to build it yourself if you don’t trust a random guy on the internet. 🙂

Make sure you have Go installed, then run go build


This executible requires root permissions to write to files in /sys/. It needs this permission to write to the virtual files that control brightness and color.

-b – Brightness – specify an integer between 0 and 255

-c – Color – Specify a hex value like FF0000


sudo keyboard-backlight -c FF0000 -b 255

The above command sets your backlight color to red and max brightness.


I didn’t add any input validation, so be careful what you put in as the arguments. Go’s flag library will blow up if you provide non-numeric input for brightness, but I don’t check hex input for color.

If not specified, brightness is set to 255 — the max value.

Color is optional, but you should probably provide a color. I think the color will be white by default, but that could vary from machine to machine.

Running on startup

I use Manjaro. You’ll want to research your OS. In my case, I created a file /etc/system/systemd/keyboard.service with these contents:


ExecStart=/usr/bin/keyboard-backlight -c FF0000 -b 255


Make sure that the service file has 644 permissions with sudo chmod 644 /etc/system/systemd/keyboard.service

I built the code and copied the executible into /usr/bin. Make sure it has execute privileges (chmod +x /usr/bin/keyboard-backlight).

You can test the service without restarting by running systemctl start keyboard.service

If that works, you can enable the service at startup:

systemctl enable keyboard.service


I licensed this under MIT. See the LICENSE file.


If you don’t want to use a Go binary, you can write a bash script that does the exact same thing. It still requires root permissions. See the arch linux docs:


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