When urxvt is launched directly a nice looking font is used:


But when it is launched by x-terminal-emulator an ugly cramped font is used:

through x-terminal-emulator

But x-terminal-emulator is just a symlink which eventually resolves to /usr/bin/urxvt:

ls /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -l         
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 37 Jun 19  2016 /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator -> /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator

ls /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator -l
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 14 Mar 16 08:14 /etc/alternatives/x-terminal-emulator -> /usr/bin/urxvt


which urxvt

If it matters I'm running Ubuntu 16.04, with urxvt version 9.21.


It's probably seeing the symbolic link as an alias which changes the instance name, and using that as a (mis)clue is missing the X resource file (and using just its fallback resources).

  • Yes! Thank you! It turns out that my font settings were urxvt*font: ... but it should have been URxvt*font: .... For any future bug hunters: from what I can understand in Xresource configuration urxvt is a program name, so it doesn't apply when the $0 is anything other urxvt (e.g. when it's x-terminal-emulator). In contrast URxvt is a "class" name so it applies for all programs. – dshepherd Mar 16 '17 at 14:30

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