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perhaps the title is compiled into the xterm executable (I don't know if thats possible). It could be that the default title can be specified at compile time... in other words, download the xterm source and compile it from source... but b4 you do that I would check the xterm configuration files, but I figured you've pro'lly done that already.
Location: Rome, Italy ; Novi Sad, Srbija; Brisbane, Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu / ITOS2008
This behaviour of xterm can be achieved by using special character sequence in your bash PS1 variable. You need to remove that sequence from the script that sets that variable. I added this feature to my xterms on purpose. I made a script and put it into /etc/profile.d/shell.sh. Here it is:
if [ "$TERM" = "linux" ]
[ "$UID" = "0" ];
# I am root
[ "$UID" = "0" ];
# I am root
The sequence i'm talking about should be \[\e]2;\w\a\], for more info read the bash prompt how to.
Of course, in your case it might be due to something else, did you try exporting the PS1 variable to something like > and then starting a new xterm?
Just tried it . . . . the "string" shows up for that brief moment the way "xterm" does if I type that without the arguments, then quickly gets replaced by the username@fully-qualified-domain: current-full-directory-path
So something is overriding it AFTER the invocation of the xterm I guess. But what? And how?
There should be two configuration files in (according to xterms man page) /usr/lib/X11/app-defaults called XTerm and XTerm-color. Briefly looking through the XTerm file on my pc it doesn't look like there's anything specifying title, but it might be worth looking at. Also some distros can be a little odd.. for example when you install Slackware vi is a symlink to some editor named Elvis... (in other words not really vi or vim). Check your xterm and make sure that what you're executing is not a symbolic link. (Just throwin out ideas now).