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The file called .Xdefaults in your home directory is loaded into the X server using the xrdb program when you start your X session. In this file, each X application has a number of options which can be set, such as reverse video, window size, window location, and many others. You can set these options so that they are set every time you start up an application. A line in your .Xdefaults file follows this format:

name.Class.resource: value

The asterisk can be used as a wildcard, making it easy to write a single rule that can be applied to many different applications or elements, for example


if the name of the program is omitted this is a universal setting, for example

Many programs, such as emacs, have sample .Xdefaults so you can learn about some more of the defaults you can set.

For the colors available to you, use xcolorsel. You can either use the name of the color, or the 8-bit representation of the color.

For fonts, use xfontsel.

To reload your .Xdefaults after you have changed them without logging out, type in a shell:

xrdb -merge .Xdefaults

As for slection of options here are some heuristics:

  1. Check the manpage
  2. Use what you know from other programs
  3. Check the source :-)

See also Using the Xdefaults File - An in-depth article on how X interprets the Xdefaults file

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Gonetoo Development dannym's .Xresources

Dannym's .Xresources file.
! this are Xresources to make xterm look good
! put into ~/.Xresources
! after changing contents, run xrdb -merge .Xresources
! gentoo has a bug so that it doesnt read it when X starts, so add above
! command to /etc/xfce4/xinitrc (top) and be happy.

!xterm*iconPixmap: ...
!XTerm*iconName: terminal
!Mwm*xterm*iconImage: /home/a/a1111aa/xterm.icon
XTerm*loginShell: true
XTerm*foreground: gray90
XTerm*background: black
XTerm*cursorColor: rgb:00/ff/00
XTerm*cursorBlink: true
XTerm*borderColor: white
XTerm*scrollColor: black
XTerm*visualBell: true
XTerm*saveLines: 1000
!! XTerm.VT100.allowSendEvents: True
XTerm*allowSendEvents: True
XTerm*sessionMgt: false
!XTerm*eightBitInput:  false
!XTerm*metaSendsEscape: true
!XTerm*internalBorder:  10
!XTerm*highlightSelection:  true
!XTerm*VT100*colorBDMode:  on
!XTerm*VT100*colorBD:  blue
!XTerm.VT100.eightBitOutput:  true
!XTerm.VT100.titeInhibit:  false
XTerm*color0: black
XTerm*color1: red3
XTerm*color2: green3
XTerm*color3: yellow3
XTerm*color4: DodgerBlue1
XTerm*color5: magenta3
XTerm*color6: cyan3
XTerm*color7: gray90
XTerm*color8: gray50
XTerm*color9: red
XTerm*color10: green
XTerm*color11: yellow
XTerm*color12: blue
XTerm*color13: magenta
XTerm*color14: cyan
XTerm*color15: white
XTerm*colorUL: yellow
XTerm*colorBD: white
!XTerm*mainMenu*backgroundPixmap:     gradient:vertical?dimension=400&start=gray10&end=gray40
!XTerm*mainMenu*foreground:          white
!XTerm*vtMenu*backgroundPixmap:       gradient:vertical?dimension=550&start=gray10&end=gray40
!XTerm*vtMenu*foreground:             white
!XTerm*fontMenu*backgroundPixmap:     gradient:vertical?dimension=300&start=gray10&end=gray40
!XTerm*fontMenu*foreground:           white
!XTerm*tekMenu*backgroundPixmap:      gradient:vertical?dimension=300&start=gray10&end=gray40
!XTerm*tekMenu*foreground:            white
!XTerm Profiles (idea from dag wieers)
XTerm*rightScrollBar: true

Solaris 8 CDE Richard.Skelton "at"
Wed, 17 Jan 2001 10:27:26 +0000

OK so attachments don't work :-(

#xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
#xsetroot -solid grey
#xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
/usr/dt/bin/Xsession &

vncserver :-
# Add font path and color database stuff here, e.g.:
# $cmd .= " -fp /usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc/,/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/";
$cmd .= " -fp /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/F3bitmaps/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/misc/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Xt+/";
# $cmd .= " -co /usr/lib/X11/rgb";
$cmd .= " -co /usr/openwin/lib/rgb";

Hope this helps


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard.Skelton "at" [mailto:Richard.Skelton "at"]
Sent: 17 January 2001 08:59
To: vnc-list "at"
Subject: RE: Solaris 8 CDE

I have VNC working with Solaris 7 and CDE and have attached the xstartup script from ~/.vnc and the Xvnc startup script called vncserver.
Take a look at the lines after the comment:-
#Add font path and color database stuff here

Hope this helps.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Saez Padros [mailto:david "at"]
Sent: 17 January 2001 08:30
To: vnc-list "at"
Subject: Re: Solaris 8 CDE

Hi !!

> The vnc startup script I've got working (Solaris 2.6) is as follows:
> #!/bin/sh
> xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
> xsetroot -solid black
> xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
> /usr/dt/bin/Xsession &
> xsetroot was a workaround for the fact that the X desktop always came up
> with an awful grey colour that wouldn't sync right on my PC's monitor.
> (1) Do you have the xrdb setting in there? (don't know what it does!)

mmm ... I'm logging as root and /.Xresources does not exist, altough I'm able
log phisically on the machine as root without any problem. I tried to xrdb
/usr/dt/config/es/Xresources but it does not make any difference.

> (2) has the user run X 'natively' to the graphical terminal before (logged
> in, used the desktop etc)

Yes, a lot of times.

> (3) do they have the following directory (not $HOME/.xt as I previously
> suggested)
> $HOME/.dt


> (4) are the X directories were in the users path (check against a user that
> works OK to the graphics terminal on the host) That might explain why you
> can't find key files. I found running X 'natively' set the users up
> correctly, I then give them an Xvnc session.

PATH is fine.

> (5) Once the VNC session is running without a window manager, run a window
> manager direct from the xterm that's in VNC session - full path name etc (I
> suggest dtwm, I know it works) I've had to kill my window manager on
> occasion, and restart it, and it recovers flawlessly.

I just check if dtwm was running, but it's not running. I have this on

--- martes, 16 de enero de 2001, 16:09:10 CET
--- /usr/dt/bin/Xsession starting...
--- Xsession started by
--- setting font path...
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtsession_res -load -system
--- sourcing //.dtprofile...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0010.dtpaths...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0015.sun.env...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0020.dtims...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0030.dttmpdir...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0040.xmbind...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/1000.solregis...
--- could not read //.profile
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dthello &
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtsearchpath
/usr/dt/bin/dthello: display unix:1.0 doesn't know font -dt-interface
"/usr/dt/bin/dthello: display unix:1.0 doesn't know font fixed
"--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtappgather &
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dsdm &
--- session log file is /dev/null
--- DTSOURCEPROFILE is 'true' (see //.dtprofile)
--- execing /usr/dt/bin/dtsession with a /sbin/sh login shell ...
--- starting desktop on /dev/pts/4
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.8       Generic February 2000
/usr/dt/bin/ttsession[14086]: iniciando
X connection to unix:1.0 broken (explicit kill or server shutdown).
/usr/dt/bin/Xsession[749]: 14073 Sistema colgado

It seems that dthello refuses to start and thus dtwm is also not started.
I also tried to start it following instructions provided by Maeda Atusi:

> Solaris Xsession script cheks whether it is invoked by a dtlogin command.
> If not, Xsession initializes font paths and key codes (to *wrong* values,
> at leaset in my environment).
> An easy way to prevent this is to make a shell script with name
> `dtlogin' and invoke Xsession from the script after setting font paths.
> for i in `locate fonts.alias | grep /ja/`; do xset fp+ `dirname $i`; done
> In your own dtlogin:
> #!/bin/sh
> for i in <spanish-font-dirs>; do xset fp+ $i; done
> LANG=es DTXSERVERLOCATION=remote /usr/dt/bin/Xsession
> In your ~/.vnc/xstartup
> #!/bin/sh
> exec <somewhere>/dtlogin

If I do that I get 4 errors from Xsession like this ones:

/usr/openwin/bin/xset:  bad font path element (#37), possible causes are:
    Directory does not exist or has wrong permissions
    Directory missing fonts.dir
    Incorrect font server address or syntax

If I change DTXSERVERLOCATION to local then

--- miircoles, 17 de enero de 2001, 09:15:09 CET
--- /usr/dt/bin/Xsession starting...
--- Xsession started by init
--- setting font path...
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtsession_res -load -system
--- sourcing //.dtprofile...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0010.dtpaths...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0015.sun.env...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0020.dtims...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0030.dttmpdir...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/0040.xmbind...
--- sourcing /usr/dt/config/Xsession.d/1000.solregis...
--- could not read //.profile
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dthello &
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtsearchpath
/usr/dt/bin/dthello: display unix:1.0 doesn't know font -dt-interface
"/usr/dt/bin/dthello: display unix:1.0 doesn't know font fixed
"--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dtappgather &
--- starting /usr/dt/bin/dsdm &
--- session log file is /dev/null
--- DTSOURCEPROFILE is 'true' (see //.dtprofile)
--- execing /usr/dt/bin/dtsession with a /sbin/sh login shell ...
--- starting desktop on /dev/pts/4
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.8       Generic February 2000
/usr/dt/bin/ttsession[20116]: iniciando

But every try to lauch a dt* application dumps core (the same way as if

> Finally, errors like the following happen every time I send X programs on
> other unix servers to my VNC session.
> >Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
> >Warning: Cannot convert string "-dt-interface
> >system-medium-r-normal-l*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*" to type FontSet
> >Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
> It would make perfect sense that the window manager would generate them as
> well.

If I just start without twm and then start dtwm it doees nothing, maybe the
problem seems to be that dtwm does not find the fonts that it requires for
some reason (-dt-interface-***). I aslo tried to xset all font paths that
contains -dt-interface fonts is /usr/openwin/lib/locale/*/fonts/* but does
not make any difference.

Thanx & best regards ....

     David Saez Padros                  e-mail  david "at"
     On-Line Services 2000 S.L.
     Trafalgar 78 2: 2* B               voice   +34 93 315 15 93
     08010 Barcelona (Spain)            movil   +34 670 35 27 53
                  fax     +34 93 268 35 90

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See also:

[demime 0.97b removed an attachment of type application/octet-stream which had a name of xstartup]

[demime 0.97b removed an attachment of type application/octet-stream which had a name of vncserver]
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See also:


!  Recommended Xterm Resources
!  Excerpted from "Redefining the Desktop Metaphor" by Alan Southerton.
!  \The X Journal/ May-June 1994 (Volume 3, number 5), pages 46-51.
!Default Xterm Resources
VT100.background: #010101
VT100.foreground: #77e900
VT100.pointerColor: #d74675
VT100.pointerColorBackground: #fcfbfb
VT100.scrollBar: True
XTerm*alwaysHighlight: yes
XTerm*background: gray
XTerm*foreground: white
XTerm*font: -adobe-courier-medium-r-normal*14-140-75-75-m-90*
XTerm*internalBorder: 10
XTerm*marginBell: yes
XTerm*pointerShape: bogosity
XTerm*saveLines: 500
XTerm*thickness: 10
XTerm*visualBell: false
XTerm*VT100.cursorColor: #fbf9fb
!    Xterms can be designed from three different sets of resources:
! VT100, Tektronix (or TEK4104), and generic Xterm resources.  In
! Some instances, you cannot get the effects you want by simply
! using the generic Xterm resources.  The scrollbar, which is a VT100
! component, is one of them.  True, you could have used Xterm*scrollBar
! to activate the scrollbar, but you would run out of luck if you tried
! setting its color without using VT100.
!    The other resources in the example are typical settings.
! Resources may be specified in $HOME/.Xdefaults or other locations.

! Set up the resolution of the screen ??
!  #undef  X_RESOLUTION
!  #define X_RESOLUTION 85

!  #undef  Y_RESOLUTION
!  #define Y_RESOLUTION 85

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! emacs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Emacs*bitmapIcon: on
Emacs*background: white
Emacs*pane*menubar*height: 24
Emacs*pane*menubar*font: fixed
Emacs*pane*menubar*foreground: DarkSlateBlue
Emacs*pane*menubar*shadowThickness: 1

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xterm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
! make exclamation mark, percent  sign,  dash, period,  slash, ampersand and
! cyrillic letters to be selected with double click
XTerm*CharClass: 33:48,37:48,45-47:48,58:48,64:48,126:48,161-255:48

XTerm*font: -rfx-serenetypewriter-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-5
!XTerm*font: -rfx-serenetypewriter-medium-r-*-sans-14-100-100-*-*-*-*-5 

XTerm*background: Black
XTerm*foreground: gray90
XTerm*geometry: 80x40

! Colour for the bold attribute
XTerm*VT100*colorBDMode: on
XTerm*VT100*colorBD: purple

! Colour for underline attribute
XTerm*VT100*colorULMode: on
XTerm*VT100*underLine: on
XTerm*VT100*colorUL: red

! Turn on colour mode in your xterms
XTerm.VT100*dynamicColors: On

! Number of lines of scrollback to save
XTerm*saveLines: 4096

! Do not clear the screen after the program exits
XTerm*VT100*titeInhibit: true

! Blink instead of beeping
*visualBell: True

! Make Delete act as C-h
!rxvt.keysym.BackSpace: ^H

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aterm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aterm*transparent: true
Aterm*shading: 30
Aterm*scrollBar: false
Aterm*backgroundType: cut

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gvim !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vim*background: black
Vim*foreground: lightyellow
Vim*font: -rfx-serenetypewriter-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-5
Vim*geometry:     80x35
Vim*menuBackground: black
Vim*menuForeground: moccasin

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! netscape !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
! disable splash screen at startup
Netscape*noAboutSplash: true
! make fonts look bigger
Netscape*documentFonts.xResolution*iso-8859-1:     85
Netscape*documentFonts.yResolution*iso-8859-1:     85
Netscape*documentFonts.xResolution*iso-8859-5:     85
Netscape*documentFonts.yResolution*iso-8859-5:     85
Netscape*documentFonts.xResolution*windows-1251: 85
Netscape*documentFonts.yResolution*windows-1251: 85
Netscape*documentFonts.xResolution*utf-8: 85
Netscape*documentFonts.yResolution*utf-8: 85
!! increment fonts in bigger steps
!Netscape*documentFonts.sizeIncrement: 15
!! Use iso--8859-5 in forms (yap... breaks iso-1 in
!! all its incarnations and spoils utf-8 display)
!         -*-*-medium-r-*-*-10-*-*-*-*-*-*-5,\
!         -*-*-bold-r-*-*-10-*-*-*-*-*-*-5=BOLD,\
!         -*-*-medium-o-*-*-10-*-*-*-*-*-*-5=ITALIC
!DO not use koi8-r for windows-5 and iso-8859-5 pages
Netscape*documentFonts.charset*koi8-r: x-ignore
Netscape*documentFonts.charsetlang*koi8-r: x-ignore


!    Netscape colors
!# Netscape*backgroundPixmap: \
!Netscape*background:                        #848692
!Netscape*Text.backgroundPixmap:             XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAPMP
!Netscape*Text.background:                   #848692
!Netscape*XmText.background:                 #848692
!Netscape*XmText.backgroundPixmap:           XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAP
!Netscape*XmTextField.background:            #848692
!Netscape*XmTextField.backgroundPixmap:      XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAP
!Netscape*XmScrolledWindow*background:       #848692
!Netscape*XmScrolledWindow*backgroundPixmap: XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAP
!Netscape*urlBar*Text.background:            #505276
!Netscape*urlBar*Text.foreground:            #9ea6ff
!Netscape*urlBar*Text.backgroundPixmap:      XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAP
!Netscape*urlBar*List.background:            #505276
!Netscape*urlBar*List.foreground:            #93a6ff
!Netscape*urlBar*List.backgroundPixmap:      XmUNSPECIFIED_PIXMAP
!# Netscape*toolBarFrame*backgroundPixmap: \
!# Netscape*toolBarFrame.?.?.backgroundPixmap: \

Netscape*selectForeground: White
Netscape*selectBackground: Blue

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xscreensaver !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
! Time out after 10 minutes, cycle mode after each 2
xscreensaver.timeout: 10
xscreensaver.cycle: 5
! Run very low priority, and fade between modes
xscreensaver.nice: 12
xscreensaver.fadeSeconds: 2

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xrus !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xrus*modeButton1.labelString: BEL
xrus*modeButton1.label: BEL
xrus*locker: exec xlock -remote >/dev/null 2>&1
xrus*timeout: 30
xrus*autolock: false
xrus*useBell: false
xrus*switchKeys: Alt_L+Shift_L
xrus*wMaker: false

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XClock !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
XClock*geometry: 57x57+3+63
XClock*foreground: DarkSlateGray
XClock*reverseVideo: true

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XLoad !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
XLoad*showLabel: false
XLoad*reverseVideo: true
XLoad*Paned*StripChart*foreground: DarkSlateGray
XLoad*Paned*Label*font: fixed
XLoad*Paned*Label*foreground: Orange
XLoad*geometry: 57x57+3+125
XLoad*borderWidth: 0

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xosview !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xosview*geometry:                 57x114+3+187
xosview*reverseVideo: true
xosview*foreground:             Orange
xosview*background:             black
xosview*font:                         5x7
xosview*labels:                     false
!xosview*usedlabels:       True

Recommended Links

X resources - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

xrdb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

X Window System protocols and architecture

Inessential X Resources for Techno-Dweebs

How do I use X Resources

Resource Manager Functions

Using the .Xdefaults file. - Engineering Computer Network, Purdue University

X Resource Default Configuration

Xdefaults setup - Fluxbox-wiki

Xdefaults - ArchWiki .Xdefaults

Setting Resources with .Xdefaults (HP-UX)

.Xdefaults file AIX

These are a few of my favorite XDefaults. (, ltd. Journal Entry)

XConfig - XResources Real World Examples

I want to turn this into a list of useful XResources, feel free to contribute as much as possible. Please send submissions with a complete description to To download and save the uncompressed examples you have to <shift>-click the links.

Index of -altblue-xresources-

.Xdefaults to helps to get nicer xterms

The .Xdefaults file can be used to define default values for many of the properties of X clients. The following example shows how some of the defaults for xterm and xclock may be defined.

 # The following defaults change the behavior of clients using the # X libraries *background: grey90 *foreground: black * # The rest of the defaults are client specific xterm*Foreground: black xterm*Background: light grey xterm*Border:     dark blue xterm*ScrollBar:  on xterm*TitleBar:   on xterm*TextUnderIcon: on xterm*AllowIconInput: on xterm*AutoRaise:  on xterm*termtype:   vt1; intr ^c erase ^h susp ^@ dsusp ^@ kill ^u eof ^d xclock*Foreground: black xclock*Background: light grey xclock*Border:    navy blue xclock*Highlight: cornflower blue xclock*Hands:     slate blue xclock*Mode:      analog

XTerm*geometry: 80x32

XTerm*scrollBar: on

XTerm*saveLines: 750

XTerm*Background: blue

XTerm*Foreground: white

*Font: -adobe-courier-bold-r-*-*-14-*-*-*-*-*-*-*



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Last modified: September 12, 2017