The MacBook Pro's backlit keyboard is a terrific feature, however, its behavior can be erratic and even be judged annoying. However, the free Lab Tick utility, recently updated, can offer users better control of the "illumination."
Author Alexander Repty said he is preparing Version 1.0 and he released v.9.2 a couple of weeks ago. The new version fixes a power management issue and some other small bugs.
The program puts a slider control on the Menu Bar instead of the function keys. But that's really a small part of the feature set: users can set a level for the backlight and then have that setting made at startup. In addition, users can tell the Finder to stop automatically adjusting the backlight, a very useful feature.
On his blog, Repty presents an interesting post on the progress of the program's interface.