I have been using kernel 3.16 in my Dell Laptop for a long time with Linux Mint 17 and previous versions and the problem here had never happened until LM18.
Very often I set the lowest possible brightness, for example at night, or while I am flying for many hours. Using values from 0 to 4882 I used to run this command:
# ie: Set lowest possible backlight brightness
echo 0 > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightnes
I have always used intel_backlight instead of dell_backlight because it gives much more steps.
Well now with kernel 4.4.0-53-generic it actually decreases the brightness but at night it is still very high even at 0 compared to the brightness levels I used to get with the same command. In fact, using a value of 0 with older kernels, the backlight is turned off.
Just for testing, I have booted my laptop with Debian Live kernel 3.16.0-4-amd64 and it works perfectly. That is how I realized that the problem was the kernel.
Does anyone know if with newer kernels > 3.19 this is a well-known and tolerated behavior? Maybe the kernel code for intel_backlight was modified and ended up with this problem...
Some system information:
System: Kernel: 4.4.0-53-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0) Desktop: Cinnamon 3.2.7 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.2) Distro: Linux Mint 18.1 Serena Machine: System: Dell product: Inspiron 5520 v: A14 Bios: Dell v: A14 date: 05/13/2013 CPU: Dual core Intel Core i5-3210M (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB Graphics: Card: Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller Display Server: X.org 1.18.4 driver: intel
$ ls /sys/class/backlight/
Also I always use the acpi_backlight=vendor kernel parameter and I can confirm that by changing its value, the problem persists.
Thanks for your time, Frk.