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I was wondering if someone can tell me where are the main Unity configuration files, at least the file that you can graphically configure through CCSM. I'm wanting to edit the dash size and the panel colour, but I didn't find where to do it.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Unity and Compiz are using GConf to store their settings. GConf is a configuration store that provides an API for applications to read and write configuration information and receive notifications when configuration items change. The configuration data is saved under ~/.gconf, but modifications should only be made through the GConf daemon.

You can modify the Unity settings directly using gconf-editor and browsing to /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options. You will notice that Unity responds to changes instantly, the same as CCSM.

If you want a command line tool to modify these settings, use gconftool-2. For example, to reduce the launcher icon size I can do:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/icon_size --type int 32
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Hopefully these updates to the answer will make it a bit more clear then. – James Henstridge Jul 7 '11 at 4:03
Sorry guys, I will accept this answer as it's the most complete, but the fact is that what I'm looking for ,as far as I know, doesn't exist. I was looking for some file that stores configurations like bg_colour, fg_colour, width, doesn't as, but like a theme configuration file. Thank you. – Rodrigo Martins Jul 7 '11 at 23:52
@RodrigoMartins - I had an occasion to use a Ubuntu 11.10 Live CD very frequently. Every time I started it, I had to install dconf-editor and change launcher properties, because I wanted it to be fixed. The configuration files are indeed in the Home/.gconf folder but files don't exist for default options. First time we modify and option a corresponding folder (of the path/key) and a %gconf.xml file gets created. Further modifications are done in that XML file. – Sri Jun 24 '12 at 6:01
...cont'd... First time we modify an option, a corresponding folder (of the path/key) and a %gconf.xml file gets created. Further modifications are done in that XML file. The XML file I needed was in Home/.gconf/desktop/unity-2d/launcher. I could find this out by using dconf-editor once. We can also use gsettings but where to find SCHEMA/PATH/KEY? It would be helpful if Canonical published a full list of SCHEMA/PATH/KEY to be used with gsettings. – Sri Jun 24 '12 at 6:10
@Sri: gconf is not the same as dconf/gsettings (it is the older config system). If you want to change the defaults for new users, use gconf-editor as I described above and right click on the settings you want changed and choose Set as Default or Set as Mandatory rather than editing the XML directly. – James Henstridge Jun 24 '12 at 9:30

You cannot change the colour or size of the Dash (the thing you open from the ubuntu-logo). If you want to change the launcher size, you can use ccsm for that.

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Even if I can't do it, I would love to know where is the file that CCSM modifies to change the Laucher properties. – Rodrigo Martins Jul 6 '11 at 18:28
It is in gconf. Look under ~/.gconf/compiz-1 or ~/.gconf/compiz – RolandiXor Jul 6 '11 at 18:36
I found it at ~/.gconf/apps/compiz-1/plugins/, but nothing too significant, there are stored just the values you attribute to the CCSM options, but the script from where unity loads it's configurations I didn't find, I know that exists a script to CCSM talk to Unity, but the question is where it is. – Rodrigo Martins Jul 6 '11 at 22:22
I don't think you are understanding how it all works, or you are just not asking a clear enough question. – RolandiXor Jul 7 '11 at 3:10

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