xterm windows typically don't have an icon. I would like to know what my options are. My immediate need is specifying an icon at xterm launch (cmdline argument or Xresource-style), not dynamically changing the icon after the window has been created.

I will post what I've found as an answer, but I hope there will be others with more information than me.


I've read that it is possible to associate only .xbm images with an xterm. The way that I've found to change the icon for all xterms is:

  1. Edit ~/.Xresources and add a line like:
    xterm*iconPixmap: /usr/share/doc/tk8.5/examples/images/pattern.xbm

  2. Run the command xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources (this step implies that the path for .Xresources is not set in stone :)

An interesting post-launch alternative is xseticon, which can open .png files and set the icon of an existing window.


In addition to what tzet has said:

One nice thing I often used is the active icon (option +ai) but gnome's metacity doesn't seem to honor the request.

xterm then displays a dot for every character on the "screen" - not readable at all one thinks, but if you code banner READY at the end of a long running task, this READY is readable in the icon.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.