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I've just switched from xfce4-terminal to rxvt-unicode and I've been reading a lot of .Xresources and .Xdefaults files, piecing things together to create my own. My googling skills have left me with a number of unanswered questions; one of which is:

Is there a difference between URxvt.font and URxvt*font?

I have seen a number of variations, for example, the answer for this questions uses a asterisk in one line and periods in another.

URxvt*scrollBar_right: false
URxvt.keysym.Shift-Up: command:\033]720;1\007
URxvt.keysym.Shift-Down: command:\033]721;1\007`

Does that mean it doesn't matter or that it matters for some setting and not others? I'm hoping understanding the differences, if there are any, will help with the settings I can't get to work.

marked as duplicate by Thomas Dickey, Jeff Schaller, don_crissti, Stephen Rauch, Community Aug 27 '17 at 14:38

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This is explained in the X manual (man 7 X):

When an application looks for the value of a resource, it specifies a complete path in the hierarchy, with both class and instance names. However, resource values are usually given with only partially specified names and classes, using pattern matching constructs. An asterisk (*) is a loose binding and is used to represent any number of intervening components, including none. A period (.) is a tight binding and is used to separate immediately adjacent components.

This means that


happens to be the same as


since there is no intermediate component between URxvt and the scrollBar component (if I read the urxvt manual correctly).


URxvt.keysym.Shift-Up: command:\033]720;1\007

could probably be written

URxvt*Shift-Up: command:\033]720;1\007

to bypass that intervening keysym component. This will also set any other Shift-Up resource for the URxvt class though, if there are any other.

*Shift-Up: command:\033]720;1\007

would set that resource for all X classes.

Asterisk works like a "globbing character", like * does for names in the shell, but for X resource names. Also, I believe you can't place a dot in the middle of a component name, so the analogy doesn't go all the way.

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