As GNOME3 slowly enters Debian experimental, things become a bit … experimental.

The file manager can be set to still draw icons on the desktop, but that doesn’t entirely work yet (it will also open folders as desktop then…)

One machine had lost the keyboard settings. I could not set the fonts I wanted…

There is a tool called dconf-editor that will allow you to manually tweak some settings such as the fonts. But it doesn’t seem to have support for value lists yet - and the keyboard mappings setting is a string list.

So here’s sample python code to modify such a value:

from gi.repository import Gio
s ="org.gnome.libgnomekbd.keyboard")
s.set_strv("layouts", ["de"])

Update: you could also install the optional libglib2.0-bin and use the gsettings command.