~/.config/dconf/user is in the binary dconf database format.

If you really need to, to read the content of this file, do:

cp ~/.config/dconf/user ~/.config/dconf/test
printf %s\\n "user-db:test" > db_profile
DCONF_PROFILE=~/db_profile dconf dump / > old_settings


dconf is one of the main configuration utilities in GNOME.
dconf — A configuration system
dconf is a simple key/value storage system that is heavily optimised for reading.

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