I am using Mathematica 8. Is there a way to use free form input through the terminal? Using the notebook is not an option for me.

I want to do things like "optimize x^2 on [1, 4]" without having to type excessive notation. Thanks.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I believe the answer is "no". AFAIK support for free form input is implemented in the front-end and requires an internet connection because a Wolfram server does the actual processing of the free form input $\endgroup$
    – m_goldberg
    Nov 20, 2016 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ Using Mathematica without the front end is not a very good idea. Only do it if you absolutely do not have any other choice. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 20, 2016 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


You can use WolframAlpha like this:

WolframAlpha["optimize x^2 on [1, 4]", "Result"]

(* {{1, {x -> 1}}, {16, {x -> 4}}} *)

This requires the front end. It does not require an actual screen, and will work in terminal mode, but the front end must be able to run somehow. If you are accessing a headless Linux machine through SSH, there must still be a running X server. The typical way is to use Xvfb, but ssh X forwarding (-X option) may work too.


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