Opening the apps such as Gedit or Gnome Text Editor with sudo in Terminal, will open the app with default preferences and furthermore it won’t let me change those settings; however as an administrative user I have changed various preferences that seem to be ignored.

Here’s a screenshot for comparison: root vs. user

user preferences ignored using root

When trying to change the preferences after opening the app with sudo, I get the following error/warning in Terminal (in which tedit is a symbolic link to gnome-text-editor):

(tedit:37067): dconf-WARNING **: 11:36:56.149: failed to commit changes to dconf: Error spawning command line “dbus-launch --autolaunch=cca92021290f49f5b00d396a

So, is there a way to change preferences for root to be followed when opening the app with root privileges?

I tried the following with no success:

  1. Logging in as root with su root and then opening the app;
  2. Opning the app using gksu;
  3. Editing the default parameters of gsettings schema for the specific app in /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.gnome.TextEditor.gschema.xml;
  4. Opening the directory /usr/share/applications as administrator and then launch the app using .desktop files.

Edit 1

I just found out the option sudo -E as a workaround to open a file with root but in my user environment, for examle:

sudo -E gnome-text-editor [path-to-file]

But I’m still eager to know if there’s a straightforward method to change root preferences permanently.

Edit 2

I found out accidentally that the foremenitoned method (3), i.e. changing schema’s default values, does work but you need to recompile them with:

sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/

Yet I consider this as another workaround, not a real answer.

1 Answer 1


Depends on the settings... In this case (gedit preferences) the settings are normally stored in a binary file via dconf (in the respective user's XDG_CONFIG_HOME). However, since dconf doesn't have access to a DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRES when you invoke gedit with sudo (that's why you get those warning messages), it doesn't work. People usually try to work around by getting the address, exporting it etc
I think the most straightforward way is via dbus-run-session e.g. to set the gedit color scheme to solarized dark for the root you could run:

sudo -i -u root sh -c 'exec dbus-run-session -- gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor scheme "solarized-dark"'

or, open directly gedit

sudo -i -u root sh -c 'exec dbus-run-session -- gedit'

and customize as you wish, the settings will be saved for the next time you run sudo gedit.

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