GSettings and DConf

19 May 2015

Configuration of Gnome desktop was changed in Gnome 3.x. It doesn’t use GConf anymore (was used in Gnome 2.x), but it uses DConf as back end and GSettings as high-level configuration system. When you want to set something system-wide, then it can looks like a little bit tricky, but I will show you that is quite simple.

Browsing Configuration

First of all we will need to find, where is desired configuration stored. Gnome 3 does not use any text files for configuration. Gnome 3 uses magic (aka dconf), but don’t be scared it is quite simple and easy to solve almost any problem.

For browsing dconf is best to use Dconf Editor. it can be installed with following command:

# yum install dconf-editor

Then you can simply start this GUI application using:

$ dconf-editor

As you can see, configuration of any Gnome 3 application has some unique path. Each path has at least one key, and key have some type. A type of key could be boolean, string, integer, array of strings.

Changing Values

It is easy to browse and set some settings with dconf-editor, but when you set something with dconf-editor, then this setting is user specific and other users will have default values. We can simply prove it with command-line tool gsettings.

For example, we will want to show date in calendar. This setting has following path:

and one value: show-weekdate. We can check current value with this command:

$ gsettings get show-weekdate

When we set this value for current user, then there will be value true, but other users will have still false in this value.

Changing Default Value

Go to the directory /etc/dconf/db/local.d/ and create there new file called (e.g.) 01-calendar and place following content to this file:


Then run following command as root:

# dconf update

All users should see date in calendar (after restarting gnome shell).


comments powered by Disqus