multiple concurent sets of settings for a given gnome application


 It looks like currently gnome2 app can't have several concurent sets of
settings' values for a given app.. Such flexibility may be needed if dealing
with multiplie versions of the same application (may be due to bugs/features
of different versions in the different parts of it), during integration of
various apps in some highly-specialized/customized environment. That inability
of gnome2 is too non-flexible imho for a unix desktop - a lot of good unix
apps allow to have their configuration information read from a specified file.
Gnome1 apps allowed some hackish solution - it was possible to start one
instance of the app, put different config file to the file it read settings
from and then start another instance. This approach doesn't work with gnome2
apps since everything is stored in gconf-managed storage (or I'm missing
something - I temporarily have no gnome2 desktop here to insure this) - it's
as (non)flexible as MS Windows currently in this respect..

 It would be nice to have a special support for this flexibility in gconf
library. Unfortunately majority of gnome2 apps hardcode gconf's key
paths/prefixes, so we have a very few choices (beside calling all apps
obsolete and fixing them). It seems the most attractive one would be the
ability to map app-provided gconf paths to other apps using pattern matching
and string substitution, specified via environment or command line (I think
both ways needs to be implemented). E.g. starting gnumeric with other set of
settings would be possible as (assuming patterns are matched at the begining
of paths):

	GCONF_PATHMAP="/apps/gnumeric/=/apps/gnumeric-v2.3/" gnumeric


	gnumeric --gconf-pathmap '/apps/gnumeric/=/apps/gnumeric-v2.3/'

Support for this remapping should be provided in gconf library.

Sometimes even mapping /apps to something else would be desirable (e.g. if
running apps on X-terminal via network with monitor of different 
size/resolution). Just to remind you - X resourses allow such flexibility in
configuration, and they even allow for configuration to depend on screen
dimensions and color depth (and host name).

 What others think about having such flexibility in gconf library? What
interface (e.g. different approach to remapping) other see?

 Best regards,

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