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Urxvt is a clone of rxvt, to which xft fonts and unicode characters support were added. This is an alternative to Xterm, the X default terminal emulator.


First step to get Urxvt work is to merge it, so let's do it.

root # emerge -av rxvt-unicode

Most likely, you will want to enable xft use flag so that you can use extra fonts (such as Inconsolata, a pretty good font for terminals). You might also want to enable 256-color use flag to get a larger color range.


It is very likely that when you will launch Urxvt for the first time, you will want to make some customizations so that your terminal doesn't look ugly. So we will go into it. If it does not exist, create a file ~/.Xresources.


You may be used to handle your terminal configuration in ~/.Xdefaults which is generally autoloaded when you start X. However, this method is deprecated. So you should use ~/.Xresources now.

If you use a display manager, ~/.Xresources is probably automatically loaded. If this is not the case, you will have to load it manually in your ~/.xinitrc with the command xrdb ~/.Xresources. If you want to split your configuration into multiple files, you can also use the -merge option of xrdb so that the last called file doesn't override the others.

First thing you might want to do is to change the color scheme. For instance, you may prefer working with white on black:

   ~/.Xresources - Switch foreground and background
URxvt*background: black
URxvt*foreground: white

The prefix URxvt is optional. It is actually the namespace of the property you define. For instance, if we just wrote *background: black, the background color would have been global to any terminal emulator (Xterm, gnome-terminal, ...).