Friday, May 8, 2009

The GConf Configuration Editor

GConf provides underlying configuration support (not installed by default). GConf corresponds to the Registry used on Windows systems. It consists of a series of libraries used to implement a configuration database for a GNOME desktop. This standardized configuration database allows for consistent interactions between GNOME applications. GNOME applications such as Nautilus that are built from a variety of other programs can use GConf to configure all those programs according to a single standard, maintaining configurations in a single database. Currently the GConf database is implemented as XML files in the user’s .gconf directory. Database interaction and access is carried out by the GConf daemon gconfd.

You can use the GConf editor to configure different GNOME applications and desktop functions. To start the GConf editor, enter gconf-editor in a terminal window. Configuration elements are specified keys that are organized by application and program. You can edit the keys, changing their values. The GConf editor has four tabs:

• Tree. Used for navigating keys, with expandable trees for each application, and located on the left. Application entries expand to subentries, grouping keys into different parts or functions for the application.

• Modification. Used to display the keys for a selected entry and located at the top-right. The Name field will include an icon indicating its type, and the Value field is an editable field showing the current value. You can directly change this value.

• Documentation. Used to display information about the selected key, showing the key name, the application that owns it, and a short and detailed description. Located at the bottom-right.

• Results. Appears at the bottom, only when you do a search for a key. A key has a specific type, such as numeric or string, and you will be able to make changes only when using the appropriate type. Each key entry has an icon specifying its type, such as a check mark for the Boolean values, a number 1 for numeric values, and a letter a for string values. Some keys have pop-up menus with limited choices, represented by an icon with a row of lines. To edit the value of a key, click its value field. Right-click a value field to display the pop-up menu.

Many keys are distributed over several applications and groups. To locate one, you can use the search function. Choose Edit Find and enter a pattern. The results are displayed in a Results tab, which you can use to scroll through matching keys, selecting the one you want.

Changes can be made either by users or by administrators. Administrators can set default or mandatory values for keys. Mandatory values will prevent users from making changes. For user changes, you can open a Settings window by choosing File Settings. This opens an identical GConf Editor window. For administrative changes, you first log in as the root user. For default changes, choose File Default, and for mandatory changes, choose File Mandatory.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Ubuntu The Complete Reference

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