Where can I find Gedit preferences in Xubuntu?

They are like some rare, elusive bird.

Numerous help forums like this give varying reports of where it might have been spotted. But you go where they say they saw it and you will see no sign that it was ever there at all. No poop. Nothing.

I've tried and failed to find it by looking in:

  • Xubuntu Settings Manager
  • ~/.gconf/apps/
  • /usr/share/gedit/
  • ~/.config/gedit/
  • ~/.gnome2/
  • /usr/share/doc/gedit/

At each juncture, I was meanwhile also searching for the answer in forum hell.

There is a routine in forum hell. It goes like this: someone like me, who knows nothing, asks a stupid question in a forum; then a procession of goofs who know next-to-nothing take turns in guessing the answer. The person who asked the question gives up the will to live. Then some other bozo like me comes searching for a similar answer and after spending half their morning following the goofy guesses up dead ends gives up the will to live as well.

That's roughly what happened.

I looked for the Gedit preferences in the Gedit menu as well. But it had only some of its preferences available. Like they where a lure to get users to look under the bonnet. If you want to change the colour settings in Gedit you have to get a degree in untying granny knots, because that's the skill you need navigate the linux file system, configuration files and help forums to do something as simple as change a colour.

Back to the question of where the Gedit preferences are, I looked finally on the Gedit website. It had nice Mickey Mouse instructions for changing the Fischer Price preferences you can already find easily enough in the Gedit menu - and are thankfully already plain and simple to use. So it had some nicey nicey help pages on the things you don't really need help on. And happy smiley silence on the stuff that causes you to seek help.

It has seemed for a long time that Gnome's solution to the general problem of linux being such a tangle was to oversimplify until there were barely any options left at all: just a few because we don't think the stupid people we make software for will be able to cope with any more.

They may have a point. My head hurts. And I don't actually have a keyboard. I can't operate one. I have special pads like on those electronic drum kits they had in the eighties. And I thump my hands up and down on them. It makes nice noises. And someone interprets them into the words you see here.

What I'm thumping at is I would like to increase the document history list in Gedit like wot I had before my linux crashed and made me have to reinstall everything again. I need to do this because after I installed everything again, Linux crashed again and I lost all my open documents. I mean, I don't know where they are. And the Gedit menu only shows the last five.

Btw, I second what he said:

"btw, about all these configuration tools, this is so confuse, we have gconf-editor, dconf-editor, gconftool-2, I think there is more also.. would be easier if they made something unified like linux-regedit... – Aquarius Power Jun 17 '13 at 14:13"

Gedit 3.6.1, how to increase the number of recent files from its default of 5?

And btw, I do think gedit is brilliant. And this having to look under the bonnet, though shere hell, has not been without its rewards. I have discovered that there are such things as Vala and GObject - Ooh, that might be nice - I just don't have any time to look at them because I need to get some work done and I've already wasted too much time firefighting bugs and trying to do something as simple as change preferences. Linux might be free but it makes you poor.

And and btw, the problem with these settings managers is not that they offer too many preferences but that they are written in dalek. Many preferences are good. Daleks are bad.

And and and btw, StackExchange wouldn't let me add a xfce4-settings-manager tag because no such tag already exists and I don't have enough browny points to create one. But it's a package name. Why not allow any tag to be created that matches against package names and wotnot?

  • What happens if you run a find -name gedit on your PC? – ryekayo Jul 3 '14 at 12:18
  • 1
    Funny you should mention it, ryekayo. – markling Jul 7 '14 at 11:54
  • I'm not sure if you have tried that command yet, but that looks through your whole system matching gedit.. – ryekayo Jul 7 '14 at 11:57
  • I had used Catfish to search for "gedit". It crashed. Now thanks to your kind help, I have summoned enough hope to try find as well. It brought up more or less the same stuff I had already tried. And some help files with a ".page" extension that appear to be inaccessible. This is fun. It's like a treasure hunt. I wish I could spend all day doing this! – markling Jul 7 '14 at 12:04
  1. Install dconf-editor

    sudo apt-get install dconf-editor
  2. Open dconf-editor & Navigate to /org/gnome/gedit/

How I get it? Well, Gedit is part of Gnome project, most probably will use its configuration back-end dconf/gsettings (It's similar to Windows registry.):

  1. Check installed packages for gedit:

    dpkg -l gedit*

    | Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
    |/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
    ||/ Name           Version      Architecture Description
    ii  gedit          3.10.4-0ubun amd64        official text editor of the GNOME
    ii  gedit-common   3.10.4-0ubun all          official text editor of the GNOME
    ii  gedit-plugins  3.10.1-1ubun amd64        set of plugins for gedit
  2. Check if any of them contains dconf gschema files

    dpkg -L gedit-common | grep glib

  3. Extract path where configuration in stored in dconf:

    for l in $(dpkg -L gedit-common | grep gschema.xml); do grep "path=" $l ; done

      <schema path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/time/" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins.time" gettext-domain="gedit">
      <schema path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/pythonconsole/" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins.pythonconsole" gettext-domain="gedit">
      <schema path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/filebrowser/" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins.filebrowser" gettext-domain="gedit">
      <schema path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/filebrowser/nautilus/" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins.filebrowser.nautilus">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit" path="/org/gnome/gedit/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.preferences" path="/org/gnome/gedit/preferences/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor" path="/org/gnome/gedit/preferences/editor/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.preferences.ui" path="/org/gnome/gedit/preferences/ui/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.preferences.print" path="/org/gnome/gedit/preferences/print/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.preferences.encodings" path="/org/gnome/gedit/preferences/encodings/">
      <schema id="org.gnome.gedit.state" path="/org/gnome/gedit/state/">
      <schema id="org.gnome.gedit.state.window" path="/org/gnome/gedit/state/window/">
      <schema id="org.gnome.gedit.state.file-filter" path="/org/gnome/gedit/state/file-filter/">
      <schema id="org.gnome.gedit.state.history-entry" path="/org/gnome/gedit/state/history-entry/">
      <schema gettext-domain="gedit" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins" path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/">
      <schema path="/org/gnome/gedit/plugins/externaltools/" id="org.gnome.gedit.plugins.externaltools" gettext-domain="gedit">

Nice, all configurations are in /org/gnome/gedit/ subsections. If you want a GUI way, use Synaptic to check installed files then Nautilus to open interesting files.

  • This looks learned and interesting, Sneetsher. Thank you. I shall set aside some time to process it if life proves to be as long and leisurely as I hope. (I don't have a directory like this. My gconf dir was no good. I don't think I have dconf. Has gedit installed itself on Xubuntu only partially?). I shall also look forward to telling those non-gender-or-age-specific, unstereotypical computer illiterate relatives of mine who I've been trying to persuade to use linux. – markling Jul 7 '14 at 12:15
  • @markling, :) Which release you are using? – user.dz Jul 7 '14 at 12:18
  • gedit 3.10.4 / xubuntu 14.04 - I wonder, if gedit is designed to operate only partially on any, er, platform but Gnome, perhaps it would he helpful to warn people ('people' - not 'users' - 'people') who attempt to install it: i.e. 'such and such will be disabled on your machine because this app is not designed to operate on all linux distributions'. – markling Jul 9 '14 at 11:18
  • Or perhaps gedit is simply failing to install some dependency or another. Assuming this to be so: then if, say, dconf or whatever is not a recognised dependency because gedit will run without it but it is still necessary for the program's preferences to work, should then the concept of a dependency be broadened to include those packages upon which the user <gagh> person <\gagh> depends upon for their sanity? – markling Jul 9 '14 at 11:25
  • @markling, gedit depends on gedit-common which by itself depends on dconf-gsettings-backend, installing gedit will install all required dependencies. Even in Xubuntu session gedit used same settings back-end dconf. Open Terminal , then run dconf-editor, navigate to org > gnome > gedit – user.dz Jul 9 '14 at 19:45

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