Proposal: preferred-theme-spec - a spec for getting and setting default icon/cursor/sound themes

Simon McVittie simon.mcvittie at
Mon Mar 26 11:09:31 PDT 2012

On 26/03/12 18:26, Jerome Leclanche wrote:
> FWIU, xsettings
> is a way of storing the data -- this standard defines the data to be stored.

No, xsettings is a way of accessing the data at runtime. The "storage"
in xsettings is transient (X window properties),  so it's more like "use
xsettings instead of D-Bus" than "use xsettings instead of

The actual persistent configuration is an implementation detail of the
settings manager; in GNOME 3, gnome-settings-daemon is the settings
maanger, and it appears to read them from org.gnome.desktop.interface in
DConf. In GNOME 2 they were probably in GConf instead.

The point of using xsettings is that the settings are per X session
(even in the presence of remote apps, or changes being made during an
app's lifetime), as opposed to, say, being per home directory. If I run
an application via remote X, it uses the same theme, double-click
timeout, (etc.) as the local applications it shares an X session with,
rather than reading these settings from the remote home directory and
potentially getting different values.

The initial use cases for xsettings given in the spec are "double click
timeout, drag-and-drop threshold, and default foreground and background
colors" - Gtk themes presumably came later.

(I'm not saying that having settings managers get their settings for
theme or double-click time or whatever from the same place wouldn't be a
good thing, or expressing any opinion about where the Gtk theme should
be stored; just pointing out that the use of xsettings has semantics
that would not be provided by each app reading from its home directory.)


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