How to learn about all those configuration file values?

Kevin Krammer krammer at
Sun Apr 7 10:34:14 BST 2013


first thanks to Duncan and Stephen for covering a lot of territory already :)

On Wednesday, 2013-04-03, adrelanos wrote:

> understand (not just guess) what these settings actually do. So I am
> asking form a distro packager perspective, must use the text
> configuration files and can not just copy the whole ~/.kde folder.

I assume you meant copying the whole .kde/share/config folder.
While this is of course not viable, also because that can contain user 
specific settings such as account details, it is often nevertheless a good 
starting point.

The configuration framework used by KDE applications is build on the idea of 
search lists, similar to the $PATH search list for executables.
An application's configuration file will be searched in all configured 
directories and their values merged before the application code reads them.

This allows one to experiement with settings in a normal user session and then 
replicate the necessary changes on a more global level. In your case that 
could be the shipped config files, in the case of a system administrator it 
could be a level in between.

Normally this is used as a multi level default value system, i.e. global 
config providing default values for setting, more local configs adjusting 
them, user local config potentially providing the final value.

> At the bottom is a list of settings I can hardly make head of tail of. I
> am not asking to tell me what each any any values do, I am just asking
> about the best approach to learn all those things.

A lot of application config are nowadays described by a meta config file, file 
extension being .kfcg
They are used to describe all possible values, their types and defaults and 
are used to generate config access code instead of manually writing it 
(manually written config access code is prone to typos in setting names).

But as a side affect the also provide a kind of documentation of the 
application's configuration capabilities.

> I also tried entering the search term "kwrited" into,
> but to no avail. Also seaching for " kwrited",
> didn't help. I assumed to phrase a configuration file which contains
> "[Module-kwrited]" you must somewhere use the word "kwrited" in the
> sources and at least by reading the source I should get an idea what it
> does, but I also don't find references for it in "kwrited", so I am
> really lost on how to find reliable information.

As Stephen already explained, kded is a session daemon that loads plugins 
which turn provide services to applications or integration points between KDE 
libraries and system facilities.
It is most commonly used when the functionality in question is not very 
complex and thus doesn't make it viable to have a dedicated daemon for it.

kwrited is a system facility integration plugin. It provides the necessary 
interfaces for Unix local system instant messaging tools like talk or write.

Those are not in common use anymore, especially not on single user systems, 
and thus not loading that plugin by default makes a low hanging fruit for 
saving some resources.

JFYI: kwrited lives in the kde-workspace module and, as far as I can tell, 
doen not have any configurable option itself.


Kevin Krammer, KDE developer, xdg-utils developer
KDE user support, developer mentoring
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