I was wondering if it's possible to use the CLI to track the changes I am making in an app launched through the CLI. For example:

  1. Launch CLI.
  2. Enter gnome-control-center.
  3. Make random changes in the settings using the GUI.
  4. CLI outputs back-end changes made in the front-end.

Is it possible? Some software seems to work when you follow this procedure, but it looks like gnome-control-center isn't one of them.

1 Answer 1


That requires the program to specifically log what it is doing. In the cases you have noted you get the output in the terminal when you run it from the terminal. When you run them from a GNOME launcher you will probably find the output in the system logs somewhere.

There's no generic way to output what a program has done. The closest is to use strace to list every system call it makes, which will include all writes to all files.

A more involved alternative is to backup all files e.g. in /etc/ (most likely where a settings app is editing things) and compare them with diff before and after.

  • Thanks for the reply. I found a way to track changes made in GNOME: you can use dconf watch /.
    – telometto
    May 14, 2022 at 12:48
  • @telometto that will only work for GNOME and other programs that choose to use GNOME's config system.
    – OrangeDog
    May 14, 2022 at 13:57
  • Thanks, yeah, I'll keep the Q open... maybe I'll stumble across something online. No luck thus far, though.
    – telometto
    May 14, 2022 at 16:39

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