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Configuration Storage System

Xfconf is a hierarchical (tree-like) configuration system where the immediate child nodes of the root are called “channels”. All settings beneath the channel nodes are called “properties.”

Valid channel and property names are composed of the ASCII US-English uppercase characters A-Z, lowercase characters a-z, numerals 0-9, the dash (-), and underscore (_). No other characters are allowed for channel names. The less than (<) and greater than (>) characters (aka “angle brackets”) are also allowed in property names, but not in channel names.

Property names are referenced by their “full path” underneath their channel, for example: “/main/history-window/last-accessed”. Of course, when querying a particular property, the channel must be specified separately as well.

Both channel and property names are case-insensitive. For example, the following four all refer to the same property:

  • Channel: ExampleApp, property: /main/history-window/last-accessed
  • Channel: EXAMPLEAPP, property: /main/history-window/last-accessed
  • Channel: ExampleApp, property: /Main/History-Window/Last-Accessed
  • Channel: exampleapp, property: /MAIN/history-window/last-accessed

Kiosk Mode

The Xfconf daemon supports a so-called “kiosk mode” or “lockdown mode” such that certain configuration properties or certain channels can be locked from user modification. In this case, the locked values are provided by a system administrator in the form of a settings file (in the same format as the user's settings files) in a system read-only location.