I don't understand the difference between these products:

Wolfram Script

Wolfram Engine

Would someone help me understand what these are? And how it differs from just using Mathematica in the terminal.

  • $\begingroup$ Wolfram Engine: functionality-wise, this is Mathematica. WolframScript: this is a small separate program that requires Mathematica ( = Wolfram Engine) to work, and is meant to run scripts written in the Wolfram Language from the terminal. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Apr 20, 2020 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe what you really wanted to ask is what is the difference between running wolfram -script somefile.m and wolframscript -file somefile.m? $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Apr 20, 2020 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


The Wolfram Engine, as seen in the FAQ, is a software stack to be called from other programs.

As quoted by Stephan:

The Free Wolfram Engine for Developers implements the full Wolfram Language as a software component that can immediately be plugged into any standard software engineering stack. It runs on any standard platform (Linux, Mac, Windows, RasPi, …; desktop, server, virtualized, distributed, parallelized, embedded). You can use it directly with a script, or from a command line. You can call it from programming languages (Python, Java, .NET, C/C++, …), or from other systems (Excel, Jupyter, Unity, Rhino, …). You can call it through sockets, ZeroMQ, MQTT or its own native WSTP (Wolfram Symbolic Transfer Protocol). It reads and writes hundreds of formats (CSV, JSON, XML, …), and connects to databases (SQL, RDF/SPARQL, Mongo, …), and can call external programs (executables, libraries, …), browsers, mail servers, APIs, devices, and languages (Python, NodeJS, Java, .NET, R, …). Soon it’ll also plug directly into web servers (J2EE, aiohttp, Django, …). And you can edit and manage your Wolfram Language code with standard IDEs, editors and tools (Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, Atom, Vim, Visual Studio Code, Git, …).

It has a specific license to be used in this way.

The Free Wolfram Engine for Developers is intended for use in pre-production software development. You can use it to develop a product for yourself or your company. You can use it to conduct personal projects at home, at school or at work. And you can use it to explore the Wolfram Language for future production projects. (Here’s the actual license, if you’re curious.)

When you have a system ready to go into production, then you get a Production License for the Wolfram Engine. Exactly how that works will depend on what kind of system you’ve built. There are options for local individual or enterprise deployment, for distributing the Wolfram Engine with software or hardware, for deploying in cloud computing platforms—and for deploying in the Wolfram Cloud or Wolfram Enterprise Private Cloud.

More can be read at the blog post.

Wolfram Script

Is simply, as far as I've understood, and according to Stephan again, is simply MMA for the terminal, under the idea that one would run scripts, or write scripts to be called and executed externally, or again similar to an API and is already packaged in MMA after version 11.1 anyways.

WolframScript enables Wolfram Language code to be run from any terminal, whether or not a Wolfram kernel is available on the system.

and from Mr Seggav

Calling all command-line junkies: the new WolframScript is here!

Now you can evaluate Wolfram Language code, call deployed APIs and execute standalone scripts directly from your favorite command-line interface. WolframScript works like any other command-line utility, enabling flexible connections between the Wolfram System and other programs and I/O.

WolframScript comes packaged with Version 11.1 of Mathematica; on Mac, you must run the Extras installer bundled with the Wolfram System. You can also download and install a standalone version from the WolframScript home page.

So essentially it's all the same thing.

And the way I've come to understand Wolfram as a company in general, as a marketing ploy, they repackage mathematica and the wolfram language/core/engine whatever stuff in as many different configurations as possible with different licenses and versions to catch as many customers as possible.

There are off the top of my Head these available license systems of all the same rewrapped product with sometimes the same or different use cases and functionality.

  • Notebook Edition MMA
  • Student Edition MMA
  • Raspberry Pi MMA
  • Mathematica Desktop
  • Mathematica Cloud/Online
  • Wolfram Engine
  • Wolfram Script

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