> Looks just like the stupid Windows Registry that is at the heart of 90% of the problems in Windows, as far as I can tell.
The windows registry is a real database that stores it's data in few hive files.
The developers for the Linux desktop are using the file system as the backing store for their settings. Which is different. This way is much superior in a stability and usability way, but tends to tax the file system.
Of course Linux is Unix, right? Very file oriented... And thus it should be able to handle lots of small files in a easy manner, right?
Because I REALLY REALLY dislike the tendency for developers to be lazy and simply dump their configurations into a SQLite file. Flat file access is actually usually much faster and robust. The single file or sql approach is actually very Windows-like. The wrong bit out of order and your toast.
What Tso recommended for desktop developers to do, which is use a database or single file for storing everything... That is actually what Windows does. (Maybe the registry concept makes better sense now? Considering it was designed for Fat32 days..)
You say one big file for storing hundreds of application's configs would be superior, but I don't think so.
Not any more then mbox format is superior to maildir.
Remember your not dealing with a single application, or even a dozen applications. The Gnome or KDE folks are trying to design a generic API that can be accessed and used by thousands of programs without them stomping on each other and without the application developer really having to focus on low-level features.
With Gconf I can 'reset' a application simply by logging out then deleting it's configuration out of my home directory. And it's much easier to deal with then having each application trying to dream up it's own .*rc file format (mostly because I only have to learn the syntax once rather then a thousand different syntaxes and almost all the key/value pairs are self-documenting via the gconf-editor interface.. they give you possible values and a English description of what they do quite often.)
Now I don't know how KDE deals with stuff like that. KDE always has been much harder for me to deal with then Gnome... but to each their own.