How do I set a tiled background image in urxvt? I have tried the following alternatives in my .Xresources file:

URxvt*backgroundPixmap: /home/jgg/Pictures/tiles/escheresque_ste.png;style=tiled

URxvt.backgroundPixmap: /home/jgg/Pictures/tiles/escheresque_ste.xpm

URxvt.backgroundPixmap: /home/jgg/Pictures/tiles/escheresque_ste.png;+0+0:tile -tr

I also ran xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources to ensure that the configuration is updated every time.

What am I missing? Is there a library I need to install?

I'm running rxvt-unicode (urxvt) v9.15 on a Debian 7.4 (Wheezy) system.

  • 1
    Is urxvt compiled with support for background images? You can test this by running urxvt -pixmap /home/jgg/Pictures/tiles/escheresque_ste.xpm. – Jenny D Mar 17 '14 at 10:01
  • @JennyD: yes, it is... running your suggested command works, but it does not tile the image. – λ Jonas Gorauskas Mar 17 '14 at 10:04
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    Ah, so you're getting the picture but not getting it tiled? I misunderstood, then. You may need to escape the ;with a backslash in your resource. – Jenny D Mar 17 '14 at 10:08
  • On the command line by using the suggested command you mentioned above, yes, I was able to load the BG image. I am NOT able to load the image via the reference in the .Xresources file. – λ Jonas Gorauskas Mar 17 '14 at 10:11
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    Not sure xrdb -merge is what you want. According to the man pages, xrdb -merge actually merges the resource file into the running configuration and then sorts it. Maybe try xrdb -load to reset the actual running configuration. – Hari Seldon Mar 17 '14 at 13:00

Use the -pixmap option to set the background image for RXVT. For instance, I have a set of small .png tiles that I pick at random using the following one-liner:

urxvt -pixmap "`find /path/to/tiles/ -name '*.png' | sort -R | head -n 1`;style=tiled"

You could easily turn the above into an alias or script.

  • urxvt complains it does not know pixmap option, what version of urxvt did you use? – Jonas Jun 7 '17 at 12:06
  • I am using version 9.22 ... You need to get a version of rxvt-unicode which had the pixbuf option turned on during compilation. For example, in Arch Linux you can install the rxvt-unicode-pixbuf package from the AUR. – λ Jonas Gorauskas Jun 8 '17 at 18:15

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