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Can't run Mathematica on Raspberry Pi under php

General Tech Bugs & Fixes
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Sam Curran


( 7 months ago )


Since Mathematica is contained in Raspberry Pi 2, I can do the following in the terminal:

echo "2+2" | /usr/local/bin/math -batchinput -batchoutput

It outputs 4 correctly. But when I try it with php:

$math="echo '2+2' | /usr/local/bin/math -batchinput -batchoutput";
$handle = popen($math, "r");
echo $str;

It says that

Mathematica cannot find a valid password.

I find the license for Mathematica, in


Does this mean that Mathematica needs another license for interface with php?


I have solved this by adding an active key and password for the user www-data, which will stored in /var/www/.WolframEngine/Licensing/mathpass.

Nicola Aley


( 7 months ago )


Mathematica on the Raspberry Pi already comes with a license preinstalled, however running it as a user with insufficient access privileges may result in a prompt for activation or a password.

Here is a slightly more detailed explanation of what is happening, which is also discussed on Wolfram Community.

Early in the kernel (or FrontEnd) startup, as part of a series of hardware checks, Mathematica needs to talk to the Broadcom VideoCore chip. The default permissions for device should be similar to

crw-rw---- 1 root video 250, 0 Oct 27 22:17 /dev/vchiq

For example, if the user is not a member of the video group, opening the device will fail, resulting in a different $MachineID which no longer matches the preinstalled password. Hence, the product will not be activated.

A good way to resolve this issue is to check the device permissions are as above, and add the non-privileged user to the video group

sudo usermod -a -G video www-data

I have solved this by adding an active key and password for the user www-data

Yes, this will also work, but is more expensive: it requires the Pi owner (or his organization) to have purchased a Mathematica license. That is not necessary on the Raspberry Pi.

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