gconf brain death (was Re: [linux-elitists] Yet another mozilla atrocity)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Tue Sep 30 15:51:21 PDT 2003

on Tue, Sep 30, 2003 at 02:57:04AM +0100, Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com) wrote:

> ...but only one mode of setting the configuration actually takes (this
> on 1.2.5).  Specifically, I've had a lot of trouble getting proxy
> settings to set, or remain set.

In this specific case, the solution was to use gconf-editor.  A
reimplementation of the MS Windows Registry for GNU/Linux, with the
concommitant problems of undocumented settings, cryptic keys, 
inability to readily comment features or settings, and use of a single,
specialized application to access the configuration settings.

The last is among the more specific faults I have with such system.s  In
the Winodws world, one of the neater tricks you can play with tools such
as UWIN and Cygwin (both POSIX-on-Windows toolkits) is to treat the
registry as a filesystem (similar to /proc, under UWIN) or as a database
which can be queried and/or modified with specific tools (via a set of
command-line utilities, under Cygwin).  Showing effectively that there's
relatively little difference from a representational standpoint between
a browseable hierarchy (the default Registry access method), a
filesystem, or a queryable flat database.

It's specifically the lack of generic tools to access the Registry, the
inability to comment it (or comment out keys while trying settings or
dealing with a contingency), the masking of functionality through
intentionally obfuscated keys and values, and the fragility of the
system as a whole to any file damage, which are the primary complaints
against the Registry.  Best I can tell, gconf is largely bug-for-bug
compatible on all points, though I admit my aquaintance with it is
quite casual.

Is anyone familiar with a curses or command-line gconf editor?  Yes, the
XML storage means you can tweak by hand, if you know the DTD by heart (I
don't).  An emacs mode would be an acceptable answer.  Debian doesn't
seem to be aware of anything.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    "Yes," said Marvin. "Why stop now just when I'm hating it?"
    -- HHGTG
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