GNOME recently-used.xbel file

Got curious about this file inside ~/.local/share directory on GNOME and other GTK+3 based DEs.

I realized this is the one responsible of the “recently used” file list, kind of handy in case of few often used files but messy in case of many.
Has also small weird behaviors: sometimes there’s more than one of them inside the directory (no idea why), and when deleting it (or them) then rebooting, it appears generated again if at least one of the files in the list was opened with one of GNOME’s “builtin” applications such as Gedit, Document visor, etc (probably LibreOffice itself as well?).

I read there’s a way to disable this “feature” for good with some settings.ini file inside ~/.conf/gtk-3.0 directory.
So would like to ask, are there any opinions about this “feature” in GTK+3 based DEs?
Could it really become a small privacy issue like some people say around internet?
Do you disable it or simply not care at all?


This Gnome Doc page tells it all.

I had already read that; simply doesn’t work, recently-used.xbel file is still there.

Hell… I guess GNOME 3’s innate nature overall did not turn quite good just as many opinions around internet still say? Thus one can never expect real “improvements” because they don’t exist…

Any other help/points of view?

If you don’t want recently used then try…

Delete the contents from recently-used.xbel, then remove all read/write permissions on the file.

Removing permissions from the file may work, but only graphically; system would still throw errors about not being able to access/write to it (as one could see by invoking the applications via command line).

I already tried this

echo -e "[Settings]
gtk-recent-files-limit=0" > .config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini

and rebooted. No avail at all neither. Had to delete file and reboot again.
Hope I did no harm to my system…

Guess only option would be with dconf-editor, gconf-editor or whatever it is called?
GNOME did not change for good at all ever since even 3.0…

I don’t see your point…
When the “Usage & History” is disabled in the “Privacy” panel the existing file is cleared of its contents and the “Recently Used” bookmark in Nautilus no more shows up upon reboot.
Yes, the recently-used.xbel file is still there, but its content is just a placeholder, no user data inside.
As for the other copies of such file, they seem apparently sort of a backup made during some update, judging from the dates I see on my system (the latest is some 7 months old), but I can’t tell for sure.
Upon deletion, they are not recreated as far as I can tell.

You were not able to see that my point was getting rid of recently-used.xbel file?

For what reason … ? :\ If it’s on grounds of privacy then as OrsoBruno wrote:

I wanted to get rid of it for good because I always thought it could be a potential privacy/security problem somehow, even as normal user. What kind of information does it store? Everything about used user’s local files and data?

What if it then becomes sensitive when doing any LAN/internet activity?

FYI this is the typical record I see (when Usage&History is enabled of course):

  <bookmark href="file:///home/bruno/Downloads/" added="2017-12-15T14:04:09Z" modified="2017-12-21T18:09:22Z" visited="2017-12-15T14:04:09Z">
      <metadata owner="">
        <mime:mime-type type="application/zip"/>
          <bookmark:application name="Firefox" exec="'firefox %u'" modified="2017-12-15T14:04:09Z" count="1"/>
          <bookmark:application name="File Roller" exec="'file-roller'" modified="2017-12-21T18:09:22Z" count="1"/>

This was downloaded from the internet but, as you can see, only the local copy is referenced. I see nothing too sensitive here, but you can always turn off “Usage&History” and even that limited data is stored no more.