dconf database is a binary stored in
/home/user/.config/dconf/user and, at least on my system is only 16kb in size. Management of the database and custom locations are discussed at the gnome site, although the discussion is mainly useful as background information as normally it is not necessary to modify any of the
dconf options or database location.
However, in the discussion it mentions the
binary dconf (GVDB) database format
and again on the gnome site the database is described as being a
single compact binary format, and so it doesn't appear to have anything to do with EXI XML binaries.
It is possible to substantiate this point by searching through the Gnome mailing lists. A developer, Ryan Lortie, in this mail, talks about how
Reading in dconf is done directly from a memory-mapped file containing the settings in an efficient tree format
Ryan Lortie is still working on
dconf, as he writes in his recent blog entry, but in his other entries he only mentions the
GVDB database format used by
dconf (for example here and here), and he does not mention anything about an EXI XML binary or it being discussed in relation to
For more information on
gsettings, please see: