Evolution GConf Tools

I've written some Python scripts to make it easier to work with Evolution's configuration information, in the hope of automating mass deployments of Evolution (and to help debug configuration problems)

Tarballs are available for download from here: http://people.redhat.com/dmalcolm/evolution-gconf-tools/

The source is in GNOME CVS as module evolution-gconf-tools

It doesn't yet have a Bugzilla component (FIXME please!)


This script attempts to guess what Evolution's configuration information for the current user ought to be and writes the data into GConf. It can be customized by setting up data in /etc/gconf/evolution-gconf-tools.

In its default configuration it sets up Evolution 2.0 to talk to an Exchange server.

Running the scripts by hand

If you want finer control, you can run the scripts by hand.

You should set up a prototype/test user on one machine, and get Evolution working well for that user with whatever server(s) are needed.

You then grab the configuration information for Evolution from GConf as an XML file thus:

gconftool-2 --dump /apps/evolution > some-file.xml


If you look at one of these XML files in a regular file viewer it will be almost unreadable (it contains further XML data in an "escaped form" internally).

I wrote evolution-gconf-log to present this data in a more readable way:

cat some-file.xml | evolution-gconf-log | less

This should show you the various accounts and data sources in a somewhat more human-readable form (it shows you some of this inner XML). You can't do anything more with the output except read it; this is a debugging tool.


This takes one of these XML GConf dump files and filters out everything apart from the accounts on an Exchange server.

cat some-file.xml | evolution-gconf-filter-exchange > some-other-file.xml

You can use the evolution-gconf-log tool on the result as desired.


This takes one of the XML GConf dump files and remaps all user information based on the values of environment variables set when the script is run. For example:

cat some-file.xml | evolution-gconf-personalize > result.xml

As before, you can use the evolution-gconf-log tool on the result to check that things have been mapped correctly for the new user.

Putting the data back in GConf

Once you've manipulated the data as needed (and verified results using the log tool as needed), you can put it back in GConf for another thus:

gconftool-2 --load my-finished-file.xml

The above command assumes you're logged in as the user; it will start the GConf daemon for that user if needed.

If this is to run from a script where the user's session isn't running, you can bypass the daemon thus:

gconftool-2 --shutdown gconftool-2 --direct --config-source=xml:readwrite:$HOME/.gconf --load result.xml


I've tested this, and had it working for an Evolution 2.0 deployment. I suspect the approach will break under some circumstances, and with different versions of Evolution. Comments and patches welcome (send to evolution-hackers@lists.ximian.com )

Dave Malcolm

Apps/Evolution/GConfTools (last edited 2013-08-08 22:50:03 by WilliamJonMcCann)