The .Xresources file in your home directory is where you store the configuration options for your X client applications. These are the classic X window apps, whose names usually begin with the letter x. Like XTerm for example.

  • This is a single file whose settings are applied to all the X apps when the X window system begins.

  • If you add or change some settings later and want them to be applied to the X server, that can be done using the xrdb (X server resources database utility) program.

  • To replace all current settings with the settings from the file:

$ xrdb ~/.Xresources
  • To merge settings in file into the currently active settings:
$ xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
  • Each configuration option has this format: name.Class.resource. Usually, the class is the name of the program and class and resource provide 2 levels of suboptions.

  • Wildcard character can be used in the configuration option name. For example, to set something for all applications and so on.

  • Each configuration is specified in this format: name.Class.resource: value

  • Comments can be used in the file by beginning the line with a !

  • You can look up all the configuration options understood by your app in its man page. For classic apps like xterm, this can run into hundreds of options!

  • To view all the settings applied on a X application use the appres program. Its name looks weird, I remember it as the tool to view application resources. To view the settings of XTerm for example: appres XTerm. Note how the application (or class as X calls it) has to be specified correctly with the correct case.

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