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Re: Math, MathKernel ... and others

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg24989] Re: Math, MathKernel ... and others
  • From: "P.J. Hinton" <paulh at>
  • Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 01:09:25 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.
  • References: <8odnb8$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On 28 Aug 2000, Barbara DaVinci wrote:

> Firstly, a bit of netiquette : when a post of mine is replied, should I
> thank the author using his/her own address ?  I did so, feeling to be
> a spammer!  Then I stopped, feeling to be ill-mannered!  What's the
> behaviour MathGroup people think to be fine ?

See RFC 1855 for some guiding principles on one-to-many communication:

Note this guideline:

    - Avoid sending messages or posting articles which are no more than
      gratuitous replies to replies.

> What about MathKernel.exe and Math.exe ?
> They are locate in the same folder where
> Mathematica.exe is, but I can't
> figure out their roles. Math.exe seems to be a
> dos-like interface to kernel
> but it doesn't work without Windows ; MathKernel on
> the other hand is .. "a line command inteface to
> Kernel running under a graphical GUI" !?!?

MathKernel.exe and math.exe are loader programs that interface to the
kernel's core code in MATHDLL.DLL.  They serve only to provide alternative
interfaces to the same application.

MathKernel.exe is a windowed application.  Invoking this executable from
the command line will result in a separate window being created.  It
provides basic copy-and-paste operations as well as some scrolling

The program math.exe is a console application.  If you invoke it from the
Command Prompt window (also known as the MS-DOS Prompt window under
Windows), it will overtake the window itself.

> Does anybody knows about their effective use ?

In most cases, it is a matter of personal preference.  If you are
interacting with the kernel directly, you'll probably find MathKernel.exe
to be more convenient.  The console program is useful when you want to run
the kernel in batch mode.

> A smaller Mathematica.exe is located in 
> C:\mathematica 4\SystemFiles\FrontEnd\Binaries\Windows
> : what is it intended for ?

It is the notebook front end executable.
> 02)
> Edit\Check Spelling in an extremely useful feature.
> Where are user's dictionaries located ? I haven't been
> able to find them.
> I looked in C:\mathematica
> 4\SystemFiles\SpellingDictionaries\English
> but none of the files contained changes when a word is
> added 
> Are they manually editable ? Suppose a lot of words
> being added (using Add Word) ; how can I backup the
> modified dictionary ?

Modifications to the dictionary are stored as plain text Mathematica
options, just like other front end and notebook preference settings.  The
name of the aggregate option is SpellingDictionaries.  It takes three
suboptions: "CorrectWords", "IncorrectWords", and "Suggestions".  Each
option takes a list of strings as its value.  For more information, paste
the following expression in a notebook and evaluate it:


Global settings are stored in the front end's init.m file.  The core
dictionaries themselves are not altered.

> 04) 
> C:\mathematica 4\SystemFiles\Templates\Kernel and
> C:\mathematica 4\Configuration\Kernel both contain
> init.m and end.m :
> why are these files duplicated ? 

See Appendix A.8.5 of _The Mathematica Book_ (Fourth Edition) for an
explanation of the organization of files used in Mathematica.

> What about Developers.m and Experimental.m ?

These files simply add the Developer` and Experimental` contexts to
$Context path so that you do not need to invoke symbols in those contexts
by their long names.

P.J. Hinton
User Interface Programmer                         paulh at
Wolfram Research, Inc.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone.

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