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I want to urxvt load DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline font, but it doesn't work with xft no matter what.

Excerpt from ~/.Xresources from my dotfiles

! this work
! URxvt.font: -*-dejavu sans mono-medium-r-*-*-0-*-*-*-*-*-koi8-u

! none of these - dont
! URxvt.font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Book:size=12
! URxvt*font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Book:size=12
! URxvt*font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:size=12
! URxvt*font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono:size=12

I use rxvt-unicode-patched version from aur

Let's check if all right

$ urxvt --help 2>&1 | grep options                          
options: perl,styles,combining,blink,iso14755,unicode3,encodings=eu+vn+jp+jp-ext+kr+zh+zh-ext,fade,transparent,tint,pixbuf,XIM,frills,selectionscrolling,wheel,slipwheel,smart-resize,cursorBlink,pointerBlank,scrollbars=plain+rxvt+NeXT+xterm

$ fc-match "DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline" 
DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline.ttf: "DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline" "Book"

$ fc-list G "DejaVu Sans Mono"
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVuSansMono.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono:style=Book
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVu Sans Mono Bold for Powerline.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Bold
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVuSansMono-Oblique.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono:style=Oblique
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVu Sans Mono Oblique for Powerline.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Oblique
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Book
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVu Sans Mono Bold Oblique for Powerline.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono for Powerline:style=Bold Oblique
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVuSansMono-Bold.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono:style=Bold
/usr/share/fonts/TTF/DejaVuSansMono-BoldOblique.ttf: DejaVu Sans Mono:style=Bold Oblique

what I get

$ xrdb -merge -I$HOME ~/.Xresources && urxvt
urxvt: unable to load base fontset, please specify a valid one using -fn, aborting.

xrdb -query -all at that time here

Why?!

1

The real problem might be that your copy of urxvt might have been compiled without "frills" which would allow it to work.

http://powerline.readthedocs.io/en/master/troubleshooting.html#urxvt-unicode3-and-frills

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