Using gconfeditor

Like all versions of Linux, Ubuntu is actually a compilation of many different software projects. The desktop interface is a modified form of that offered by the GNOME Desktop Project (

Because of this, several tips in this book use a program called gconf-editor, which is designed to change the settings of the GNOME desktop, or various GNOME applications. This program doesn't have a menu entry so must be started from either a terminal window, or by hitting [Alt]+[F2 and typing gconf-editor. Note that gconf-editor changes your personal GNOME desktop software settings, so doesn't require root privileges. The configuration files it affects are stored in your /home

File Edit Bookmarks Help v ^ apps

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CD bluetooth-manager |> Ù brasero


Name loop Q seconds upscale

Key Documentation

Key name: /apps/eog/fullscreen/seconds

Key owner; eog

Short description: Delay in seconds until showing the next image Long description: A value greaterthan 0 determines the seconds an image stays on screen until the next one is shown automatically Zero disables the automatic browsing

Figure 2.12: gconf-editor folder as hidden files, but you'll probably never come into direct contact with them.

If you've ever used regedit under Windows then you have a head start with gconf-editor. See Figure 2.12 for an example. The purpose of gconf-editor is to let you edit keys, which are individual program settings. For ease of access, all the keys are organized by headings, which are listed on the left of the gconf-editor program window. Most applications you use every day can be found under the apps master category.

On the right of the program window is the area where the keys appear. Usually these are either a checkbox or a value—a number or text field. The value in a key can usually be changed by either single- or double-clicking it. Beneath the key area is the Key Documentation area where help text sometimes appears describing the key settings.

In several tips within this book I say something like, "Open gconf-editor and head over to /apps/nautilus-cd-burner. Then put a check alongside overburn on the right", by which I mean, select /apps and then the nautilus-cd-burner headings on the left and, on the right of the program window, change the overburn key to a different setting, in this case by putting a check in its box by clicking it. Incidentally, the tweak described here comes from Tip 27, on page 84, which explains how to activate the overburn mode of some CD-R/RW drives to squeeze more data onto discs.

Changes made in gconf-editor take effect immediately, often even if the application concerned is still open. In the majority of cases there's no need to reboot or even log-out and back in again (if there is the tip in question will tell you).

If you make a mistake, or if you find a setting you've changed isn't to your tastes, you can go back to the key in question, right-click it, and select Unset Key. This will return it to the original value.

once you've finished using gconf-editor, just close it as usual.

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