6.6 Why does Emacs ignore my X resources (my .Xdefaults file)?

Emacs searches for X resources in the files specified by the following environment variables:

This emulates the functionality provided by programs written using the Xt toolkit.

XFILESEARCHPATH and XUSERFILESEARCHPATH should be a list of file names separated by colons. XAPPLRESDIR should be a list of directories separated by colons.

Emacs searches for X resources:

  1. specified on the command line, with the ‘-xrm RESOURCESTRING’ option,
  2. then in the value of the ‘XENVIRONMENT’ environment variable,
    • or if that is unset, in the file named ~/.Xdefaults-hostname if it exists (where hostname is the name of the machine Emacs is running on),
  3. then in the screen-specific and server-wide resource properties provided by the server,
    • or if those properties are unset, in the file named ~/.Xdefaults if it exists,
  4. then in the files listed in ‘XUSERFILESEARCHPATH’,
    • or in files named lang/Emacs in directories listed in ‘XAPPLRESDIR’ (where lang is the value of the LANG environment variable), if the ‘LANG’ environment variable is set,
    • or in files named Emacs in the directories listed in ‘XAPPLRESDIR
    • or in ~/lang/Emacs (if the LANG environment variable is set),
    • or in ~/Emacs,
  5. then in the files listed in XFILESEARCHPATH.