I am running Mathematica 11.3.0 on a system and haven't upgraded it to the current 12.0.0. When I download the free wolfram engine, I see it is the lastest version (12.0.0). Can someone guide me to possible steps to hooking up the free wolfram engine to the older notebook front-end. I know some new 12.0.0 features will not be working in the older front-end but the rest should work. Can someone guide me about the steps?

  • $\begingroup$ I am curious: did it work for you as well? $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Szabolcs will try tonight and update you if it worked for me without a version 12 license on the machine. $\endgroup$
    – user13892
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Szabolcs yes it is working for me as well. $\endgroup$
    – user13892
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


It appears to work. I am quite surprised. It may be because it is picking up a different license on my system, as I also have Mathematica 12.0. I am not sure if it will work for you, but you should try.

It is also possible that there is really no technical restriction. The license terms about the allowed types of usage would still apply, but Wolfram seems to be simply counting on users' honesty not to break them. These sorts of terms (about what you can use it for) are difficult to enforce in practice.

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You need to go to Evaluation -> Kernel Configuration Options, add a new kernel, then switch to Advanced Options and add the path to the Wolfram Engine kernel.

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Note that some services are provided by the front end. I would not be surprised if certain things would behave in a strange way or not work at all when rendering graphics or using Dynamic.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It would be interesting to know which this is from the WRI perspective: a bug or a feature... $\endgroup$
    – kirma
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 17:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On Windows I received the message that the Wolfram Engine could not start due to licensing terms :( I do not have a license for 12.0 (only 11.0.1) on this machine. [advanced options were: -LinkMode Launch -LinkName "C:\Program Files\Wolfram Research\Wolfram Engine\12.0\WolframKernel.exe"] $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 20:45

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