I just upgraded to Mathematica 10.4 (Site Home Use) on Ubuntu 15.10 (x86-64). After entering the activation key and clicking Activate, I got a message "Activation was successful", and then the window disappeared and nothing happened.

Inspecting with ps showed that Mathematica was still running, with a number of subprocesses, some of which were WolframKernel processes. strace showed that both were in an apparently infinite loop of futex calls. Lacking any better ideas, I killed one of them (kill -TERM didn't successfully kill it, so I used kill -9). A couple seconds later, I was presented with the license agreement screen, and was able to start using Mathematica.

Ever since then, trying to start it (running Mathematica from the command line) results in similar behavior: processes start but no windows appear. Killing one of the WolframKernel processes (with kill -9) causes the following window to appear:

enter image description here

I can then click "New Notebook" and Mathematica seems to work normally.

Maybe this is a question for Wolfram Support, but I thought I would first see whether it is a well-known problem, or if there's something obvious I should try.

Update. With Mathematica 11 the problem seems to be fixed.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Even if somebody else had encountered this before (although I don't recall seeing it reported here), you should still definitely report this behavior to Wolfram Support; they will be interested in investigating further to see if it's a general problem. $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 18:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We're investigating the issue. Thank you for reporting it. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any update on the problem? I'm also getting it (Gentoo Linux, x86-64) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


This is due to your network configuration having issues (ex: can't ping your hostname, bad DNS resolver, etc). For some reason Mathematica is extra sensitive to network issues and especially hostnames, even more when activating. I think it uses hostnames or mac address to bind your license to your computer, but it can sometimes make a mess.

The simplest way is to set a hostname manually, put it after localhost in /etc/hosts and make sure it pings.

Then restart Mathematica and it should work


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