Kali 2016.2 in Qemu:

/usr/bin/qemu-system-x86_64  -boot d -m 5000 --enable-kvm 
-cdrom kali-linux-2016.2-amd64.iso 

I'm trying to list root dir:

# /usr/bin/dconf list /

But dconf-editor shows me five dirs: apps, ca, desktop, org and system.

Moreover, full dump:

# /usr/bin/dconf dump /

does not match GUI version...

Taking look at compilations:

# ldd `which dconf` | awk '{print $1}' | while read i;do echo; echo $i;ldd /usr/bin/dconf-editor | grep $i;done

Everything matches. Both of applications compiled against the same set of libraries. Moreover, dconf-editor must be just a GUI, it must use dconf as a call inside.

Why it is different? Is it retard of development? As I can read from License field, it was Canonical couple of years ago, but now it is one man. Canonical sucked every juices from project and lived it alone...

And how can I list from console/terminal this fields of dconf-editor(GUI) which are not visible in dconf??

  • 1
    The dconf database is session-specific - it looks like you are running the terminal dconf command as root, who (I hope) doesn't have a running desktop session Sep 10, 2016 at 6:49
  • It is Kali 2016.2, pentest-oriented distributive, there is pretty everything as root...
    – kalignome
    Sep 10, 2016 at 9:33
  • # ps -C gnome-session-binary -o user= ->>> root, X - too as root.
    – kalignome
    Sep 10, 2016 at 9:35
  • Is DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS set in the root terminal where you ran dconf? Sep 10, 2016 at 12:54
  • # echo $DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS ->>> unix:path=/run/user/0/bus
    – kalignome
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


The dconf command gives you access to the dconf key-value database. This database is empty by default; so, you only see via dconf the settings that have already been edited, and you can only read the name of the key, and its value.

Dconf Editor do not only call this database. It also calls the “GSchema” API, that is part of the GLib (the base library of Gtk and various other libraries).

A schema is a file describing keys –it’s what provides a summary, a description, etc. of the keys– and is defined by the applications, and mapped to a path in the dconf database, that is used as back end.

If you want to have access to schemas in terminal, then you should use the command gsettings. This command will let you read its documentation, but it’s harder to imagine that as a tree of settings, that’s in what Dconf Editor is quite convenient.

Yes, Dconf Editor should be renamed, for clarity purposes. I prefer gsettings over dconf because of its ability of doing multiple operations not related t database.

  • Would you please include reference to your answer?
    – user88036
    Sep 13, 2018 at 21:10

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