I have problems with cursor size on one of my Xorg screens on CentOS 7. I have two screens. One runs xfce4 window manager and desktop, while another runs mwm window manager. This is a custom setup, which allows a fullscreen Motif application to run on screen with mwm, and other apps on xfce4 screen. I also have special kind of monitor for Motif app, which is 2048x2048 resolution.

The problem I have is that all except one cursors are to big on mwm, while on xfce4 they are all normal. Cursor shaped "X" on desktop background is normal size while others are oversized.

Here's a picture where an one of oversizeds cursor can be seen: enter image description here

How can I change the size of cursors on mwm screen? I have tried Xcursor.size in Xresources, but with no effect.

Here are some more pictures showing cursor sizes. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

Another update:

I have tried different window managers to see if cursor size is big there too. KDE, for instance, works fine. However, when I open XTerm window cursors are too big within that window. The app I use also uses Xt and Motif widgets, and also shows big cursors.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • all except one cursors are to big on mwm - I don't understand that. In what places on the screen is the cursor getting bigger? Aug 12, 2019 at 8:16
  • All except one means that "X" shaped cursor on background is normal size. All others used in windows are bigger. I have attached some more pictures. Because I cropped an image, the last picture with "X" shaped cursor also seems to be too big, but it is not.
    – nobody
    Aug 12, 2019 at 10:44
  • OK, I see. I've just tried mwm inside Xephyr and I don't have that problem so I think it's your local config. KDE, for instance, works fine. However, when I open XTerm window cursors are too big within that window. - ok, so cursor is too big in KDE as well and not only in mwm? Aug 12, 2019 at 14:08
  • Yes. I know it is my local config, and I am looking for a solution for the problem in my local config. I am trying to figure out why these big cursors are being used on 2048x2048 screen with mwm (and motif (or Xlib) based applications.
    – nobody
    Aug 13, 2019 at 5:14

2 Answers 2


I thought I'd share the solution I've told you about here for the posterity as it does not require rebuilding of the theme.

Similar to your setup, i'm running metacity for single full screen application without any additional UI.

Set the correct/desired cursor size in ~/.Xresources

Xcursor.size: 22

merge settings using xrdb before starting the WM by adding to .xinitrc which in my case ends up being

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources && exec metacity

NOTE: My settings are localized to a specific user used to startx, hence local config files.


I have found a solution that works for me.

At first I inspected sources for mwm, libXm, libX11 to see how could I make programs use smaller cursors. I tried some changes, but realized it would require to much work, recompiling, etc.

Than I renamed/removed /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/cursors directory. When X did not find oversized cursors installed by adwaita-cursor-theme package any more, the only remaining ones are not as beautiful as Adwaita cursors but are at least of the right size.

I believe adwaita cursors are required by essential packages, so I cannot afford to delete package adwaita-cursor-theme. I have two options:

  1. Remove cursors directory and use cursors not from this theme. Remaining cursors are probably from cursor font, which is provided with Xorg. They have only two colors, while Adwaita cursors have more colors and shadows.
  2. Resize Adwaita cursors, which should easily be done with Gimp, for instance.

Final solution: I downloaded adwaita theme sources and created new cursors. There are files *.in where cursor sizes are specified. I edited these files to remove large size cursors and created new cursors with make.sh, which basically calls xcursorgen for each cursor. I put these cursors in /usr/share/icons/Adwaita/cursors and now I have the cursors sized as I want.

  • I found compiling against open Motif to be relatively trouble-free.
    – dotbit
    Dec 10, 2019 at 14:55

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