I can see what GConf is getting at and they have made moves to to avoid some of the pitfalls of the Windows registry (the backend is not one big binary blob, if you want you can go at it with a text editor).
I also agree there is probably a lot of duplicate code that GConf removes. The seperating of frontend and backend also makes sense.
However what I miss is comments. My exim.conf is 562 lines long, of which 252 are comments. I find with any complex software the inlined commentry about what each variable is for or why I changed x to y really useful. And I don't see what the current GConf implementation does to replace this most useful feature of plain 'ol configuration formats.
p.s. However I can also say that Sendmail and Procmail configurations have made me reach for the yak bucket from time to time....
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