Mumblings about Gnome 3.12, geolocation and gsettings/dconf

A couple of days ago, like everyone using ~arch, I upgraded my Gnome desktop to 3.12. Though a few packages failed to build, the upgrade itself went pretty smooth. Hats off to the Gnome herders.

Overall, 3.12 feels like a solid and well put together release. There were a few disappointments. The biggest of which being the removal of changing tab titles in gnome-terminal. I’ll spare everyone a long rant but this is feature I have been using extensively for the better part of a decade and I’m very disappointed to see this useful features go away without much justification. Material for another blog post… maybe.

One thing I did notice really quickly is the new geolocation entry in the shell’s main top-right menu. Not being a fan of geolocation, I went out to see how I could turn it off by default system-wide as my system has more than one regular user.

Going through dconf-editor, I found the correct setting key: This key is an enum and the correct value (at least to my taste) is ‘off’. Setting this for each user is a matter of running “gsettings set”. However, to change the default value, a little elbow grease is required.

GLib’s GSettings is actually an API for various backends. The one we use on Linux is dconf. So this is what I’ll have to bang on. This basically has all the reasoning behind it all. I’ll just summarize what I did.

  1. Create a /etc/dconf/profile/user with the following content:
  2. Create a matching ‘site’ settings database (I could have called it anything really) in /etc/dconf/db/site.d/ containing my new default settings file ’00_settings’
  3. Run ‘dconf-update’ which will translate the INI-like settings file into a binary dconf file ‘/etc/dconf/db/site’

Now, I assume GSettings did not pick up this new profile on its own, so I had to restart my session. But from there, all changes to the settings file followed by a ‘dconf update’ automatically propagates to running applications, gnome-shell included.

Overall, this was easier than I anticipated. Hope that helps anyone trying to do similar things.