Back in February, I bought a new laptop. An MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro G. I know, it rolls right off the tongue! Windows 10 Home came pre-loaded. Of course I removed all traces of Microsoft from the machine almost immediately.
One of the “features” of this great laptop, is that it comes with a mechanical “SteelSeries” multi-colored, led back-lit, keyboard. This was not a factor when I purchased it. I’ve had back-lit keyboards before and they are a truly great innovation. While booted into the original OS that came on the laptop, I oohed, and ahhed at the colorful beauty.
Like I said, Microsoft was left behind and Linux found it’s new home. No more colored keyboard lights. Just the same old white back-lit keys I was used to. I was ecstatic! This was the first laptop I had installed Linux on that had a working back-lit keyboard out of the box. As I mentioned before, the colored lights were not a factor in me buying this machine. Time passed.
Eventually, I was made aware of a ‘command line interface’ solution. Being familiar with Linux and the terminal, I jumped right aboard and quickly was back to a fully functioning colored keyboard! Come to find out, this had been available for Linux users since around 2013! Well, as of a couple of days ago, you can now have your Linux and a colored keyboard too, without the hassle of having to know the command line. (though if your using Linux, you should be using the command line!)
A very nice GUI (graphical user interface) application has been written and works wondrously well in Linux. Steve Lacy at http://slacy.me/ has several projects under his cap now. This one is well written, almost no overhead, and runs on just about any distribution of Linux out there. It is freely available at https://github.com/stevelacy/msi-keyboard-gui (and if I’m not mistaken, he was one of the original creators of the CLI utility as well)
A huge THANK-YOU to Steve for this very useful utility. While the colors meant nothing to me in the purchase decision, once I had color, I NEEDED color! When showing off the laptop to friends, seeing the keyboard in color adds a WOW factor that is simply incredible. Being able to utilize hardware at this level makes Linux an extremely attractive and feasible alternative to those other two OS’s out there! (yeah, yeah, hold the hate mail, I know there’s more than just Linux out there!)
Come back in a few days and I’ll tell you more about this beast of a laptop and how well it runs Linux!