If I try to start a Mathematica script in the background from the command line, like this:

math -script someFile.m &

then the process gets automatically suspended. Here's a terminal transcript for clarifications:

This happens both on Linux and OS X. Other programs don't typically stop when run in the background.

  • Why does this happen?

  • What can I do to prevent this?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ should this be tagged as bug? $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Oct 21, 2014 at 14:56

2 Answers 2


Mathematica for unknown reasons is waiting for input. Possible solution

echo | math -script someFile.m &

This is because your shell doesn't allow background processes to print to the console. For instance tcsh has this behavior by default:

% echo "a"&
[1] 26502
[1]  + Suspended (tty output)        echo a
% fg
echo a

In pretty much all shells you should be able to disable this behavior with stty -tostop

% stty -tostop
% echo "a" &
[1] 26539
[1]    Done                          echo a

Re-enable the behavior with stty tostop

You could also redirect the output so it never hits stdout at all:

% echo "a" > /dev/null &
  • $\begingroup$ My test .m file simply contained a Print. I tested this on Mac with bash and on Linux with tcsh (and later bash). In both cases, the math process gets suspended and doesn't print anything until I resume it with fg. However, all other processes (including echo and python scripts) are able to print stuff to the terminal while in the background. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Oct 19, 2013 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Szabolcs Strange, I'm stumped $\endgroup$
    – ssch
    Oct 19, 2013 at 11:44

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