Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

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Yonut
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Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

#1 Post by Yonut »

Hi,

I'm struggling to get the backlight on the keyboard to work on a MBA 5,2. I'm running Debian 11.

I had a lot of hope for `pommed`, but when installing, I get the following error:
$ sudo apt-get install pommed
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
pommed
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/55.3 kB of archives.
After this operation, 147 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Selecting previously unselected package pommed.
(Reading database ... 66049 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../pommed_1.39~dfsg-5.1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking pommed (1.39~dfsg-5.1) ...
Setting up pommed (1.39~dfsg-5.1) ...
Job for pommed.service failed because the control process exited with error code.
See "systemctl status pommed.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.
invoke-rc.d: initscript pommed, action "restart" failed.
● pommed.service - LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler
Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/pommed; generated)
Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Fri 2022-01-14 10:18:41 PST; 19ms ago
Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
Process: 3917 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/pommed start (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE)
CPU: 5ms

Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler...
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos pommed[3918]: pommed v1.39 Apple laptops hotkeys handler
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos pommed[3918]: Copyright (C) 2006-2011 Julien BLACHE <jb@jblache.org>
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos pommed[3918]: Unknown Apple machine: MacBookAir5,2
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos pommed[3918]: Unknown Apple machine
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos pommed[3917]: Starting Apple laptops hotkeys events handler:
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Control process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Jan 14 10:18:41 commandos systemd[1]: Failed to start LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler.
Processing triggers for dbus (1.12.20-2) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.9.4-2) ...


Trying to start the service manually, I get:
$ sudo systemctl start pommed.service
Job for pommed.service failed because the control process exited with error code.
See "systemctl status pommed.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.


Checking `sudo systemctl status pommed.service`, just regurgitates part of the output from installing:
$ sudo systemctl status pommed.service
● pommed.service - LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler
Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/pommed; generated)
Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Fri 2022-01-14 10:27:51 PST; 8min ago
Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
Process: 492 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/pommed start (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE)
CPU: 8ms

Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler...
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos pommed[494]: pommed v1.39 Apple laptops hotkeys handler
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos pommed[494]: Copyright (C) 2006-2011 Julien BLACHE <jb@jblache.org>
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos pommed[494]: Unknown Apple machine: MacBookAir5,2
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos pommed[494]: Unknown Apple machine
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos pommed[492]: Starting Apple laptops hotkeys events handler:
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Control process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Jan 14 10:27:51 commandos systemd[1]: Failed to start LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler.


Running `journalctl -xe`:
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler...
░░ Subject: A start job for unit pommed.service has begun execution
░░ Defined-By: systemd
░░ Support: https://www.debian.org/support
░░
░░ A start job for unit pommed.service has begun execution.
░░
░░ The job identifier is 824.
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Control process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
░░ Subject: Unit process exited
░░ Defined-By: systemd
░░ Support: https://www.debian.org/support
░░
░░ An ExecStart= process belonging to unit pommed.service has exited.
░░
░░ The process' exit code is 'exited' and its exit status is 1.
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos pommed[1240]: pommed v1.39 Apple laptops hotkeys handler
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos pommed[1239]: Starting Apple laptops hotkeys events handler:
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos systemd[1]: pommed.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
░░ Subject: Unit failed
░░ Defined-By: systemd
░░ Support: https://www.debian.org/support
░░
░░ The unit pommed.service has entered the 'failed' state with result 'exit-code'.
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos pommed[1240]: Copyright (C) 2006-2011 Julien BLACHE <jb@jblache.org>
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos systemd[1]: Failed to start LSB: Apple laptops hotkeys event handler.
░░ Subject: A start job for unit pommed.service has failed
░░ Defined-By: systemd
░░ Support: https://www.debian.org/support
░░
░░ A start job for unit pommed.service has finished with a failure.
░░
░░ The job identifier is 824 and the job result is failed.
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos pommed[1240]: Unknown Apple machine: MacBookAir5,2
Jan 14 10:40:48 commandos pommed[1240]: Unknown Apple machine


Running `pommed` manually:
sudo pommed -f
I: pommed v1.39 Apple laptops hotkeys handler
I: Copyright (C) 2006-2011 Julien BLACHE <jb@jblache.org>
pommed configuration:
+ General settings:
fnmode: 1
+ sysfs backlight control:
initial level: -1
step: 1
on_batt: 6
+ ATI X1600 backlight control:
initial level: -1
step: 10
on_batt: 80
+ Intel GMA950 backlight control:
initial level: -1
step: 0xf
on_batt: 0x40
+ nVidia GeForce 8600M GT backlight control:
initial level: -1
step: 1
on_batt: 6
+ Audio volume control:
card: default
initial volume: -1
step: 10%
beep: yes
volume element: PCM
speaker element: Front
headphones element: Headphone
+ Keyboard backlight control:
default level: 100
step: 10
auto on threshold: 20
auto off threshold: 40
auto enable: no
idle timer: 60s
idle level: 0
+ CD eject:
enabled: no
device: /dev/dvd
+ Beep:
enabled: no
beepfile: /usr/share/pommed/goutte.wav
+ Apple Remote IR Receiver:
enabled: no
E: Unknown Apple machine: MacBookAir5,2
E: Unknown Apple machine

I don't know why mba 5,2 isn't known. Also, in the wikis for installing on mba's it doesn't list 5,2 only 5,1 and 6,1.

I assume that it's checking for known hardware. Is there a way I might be able to hack it to allow 5,2 to see if it works? I just assume if there's no wiki for mba 5,2, that maybe nobody has tried it. Maybe trick it into thinking it's a 5.1 machine?

I'm out of ideas, hope someone here can help me.

Ty.

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argentwolf
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Re: Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

#2 Post by argentwolf »

It appears you're in a growing unhappy crowd...what I see with a short search points to a T2 chip being Apples intentional antagonizer!

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251260029
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Yonut
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Re: Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

#3 Post by Yonut »

argentwolf wrote: 2022-01-14 19:20 It appears you're in a growing unhappy crowd...what I see with a short search points to a T2 chip being Apples intentional antagonizer!

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251260029
Ty for the quick reply, but a search of to T2 chip suggests that it wasn't implemented until 2018. My mba 5,2 is from 2012.

For the record, everything is installed for linux to run. I was even able to get the native wifi to work with linux. The backlight on the keyboard is the only caveat left for me.

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Re: Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

#4 Post by argentwolf »

Curious why we can't speak of the Mac Book Air?
Vanguard Debian, because nothing's worse than doing nothing, whimsically!
32-bit | 2 Duo T5270 @ 1.40GHz x 2 CPU | 3.9GiB RAM | NV86 117MiB GPU | 465.76GiB SSD
64-bit | i7-4790 @ 3.60GHz x 8 CPU | 15.6GiB RAM | NVD9 1.9GiB GPU | 931.51GiB SSD

Yonut
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Re: Trying to get keyboard backlight to work on a MBA 5.2

#5 Post by Yonut »

argentwolf wrote: 2022-01-14 19:53 Curious why we can't speak of the Mac Book Air?
We can, but searching "Macbook air" can bring up pages with "macbook pro" talking about "shairport". There doesn't seem to be much ambiguity with using "mba 5,2". Sorry about the confusion.


But it looks like I have found a way around my problem. It came from an archwiki page:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Mac#Keyboard_backlight

It says you can change the brightness directly:

Code: Select all

echo 200 | sudo tee /sys/class/leds/smc\:\:kbd_backlight/brightness
Sorry for the post, after 2 days of searching I thought I would check the forums. Turns out I needed 2.5 days. :)

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