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For example, I can reset the gnome fallback panel with

dconf reset -f /org/gnome/gnome-panel/

The only thing I don't understand is the "-f" part. Can someone tell me what is does? Or is it just there for no reason?

Google doesn't help me, it just shows results that aren't very similar with my question.

If I need to add anything else, please let me know.

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why the downvote??? he apparently did some research, as he stated google did not help. and if it is because s/he did not check the man page.....a new user may not know about them or how to use them so I don't think it's a valid downvote for a new user, for someone around AU enough to get some rep, maybe..... –  TrailRider Nov 25 '13 at 2:22
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3 Answers 3

If you don't know what parameters a command takes type

man command

e.g. man dconf.

NAME
       dconf - Simple tool for manipulating a dconf database

SYNOPSIS
...

dconf reset [-f] PATH

...

COMMANDS

...
reset
           Reset a key or an entire directory. For directories, -f must be
           specified.
...

In this case, the man page tells me that -f specifies a directory.

While the use of -f in dconf has a specific meaning in dconf. -f in other commands may mean something else entirely.

For example, in the ps command it means "Do full-format listing. And in other commands it is used to reference a filename. (not a directory).

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The meaning of the flag will vary from command to command. Often, it means 'force' or 'filename'. In the example you specified, it is used to force resetting of an entire directory.

You can look up command-line options for many programs from their manpages, like so:

man dconf
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-f can mean whatever an app has specified. In this case of dconf's reset command -f means 'reset an entire directory' vs reset an individual key

From man dconf

reset
       Reset a key or an entire directory. For directories, -f must be specified.
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