I am trying to change the "custom-command" value for the Tilix terminal emulator in dconf from python3 $HOME/Scripts/memux/main.py to python3 $HOME/.pps/pecan.py, but I can't figure out the format for use with the dconf command line tool, and gsettings seems to lack the functionality to change a single setting of a key. Using the GUI is not an option. I did rtfm, and the last argument needs to be a string in "GVariant format".

dconf write /com/gexperts/Tilix/profiles/2b7c4080-0ddd-46c5-8f23-563fd3ba789d/custom-command (some-argument)             

Running the above command with no final argument results in the following.

error: value not specified

  dconf write KEY VALUE 

Write a new value to a key

  KEY         A key path (starting, but not ending with '/')
  VALUE       The value to write (in GVariant format)

How do I format the string so that dconf accepts it? Or, if there's another better way, how do I set the value via that? Below is a pair of screenshots with the GUI dconf-editor page containing the value I need to edit, if that helps. profiles, Tilix dconf

enter image description here

  • Have you tried just enclosing the whole command in quotes? Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 3:56
  • Well, no. I don't know the entire command to try that with. And wouldn't that essentially ask the shell to run "/usr/bin/(comand with arguments)"?
    – Alex Lucas
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 22:16
  • I mean something like "python script.py", it looks like from you screenshot that it is using the shell in any case. Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


You can do it like this:

dconf write /com/gexperts/Tilix/profiles/2b7c4080-0ddd-46c5-8f23-563fd3ba789d/custom-command "'python3 $HOME/.pps/pecan.py'"

Regarding the string in GVariant format, they're documented here:

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