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Mathematica vs. Wolfram Desktop

What's the Difference Between Mathematica and Wolfram Desktop?

Recently, several members of the community have asked us about the similarities and differences between Wolfram Desktop and the desktop version of Mathematica. Mathematica is a stand-alone product. Wolfram Desktop is actually a platform or interface to Wolfram Cloud products, such as Wolfram Programming Cloud.

Mathematica is a Product

  • Mathematica can be licensed annually, or purchased outright.
  • Mathematica requires an activation key.

Wolfram Desktop is a Platform

  • Wolfram Desktop cannot be purchased directly, because it is a feature of the Wolfram Programming Cloud.
  • Wolfram Desktop requires a premium Wolfram Programming Cloud subscription.
  • Right now, Wolfram Desktop only works with cloud files and always requires a login and an internet connection.

When deciding which Wolfram product is best for you, you’ll want to make a product-to-product comparison, not a product-to-feature comparison. That means, for example, weighing the pros and cons of owning the desktop version of Mathematica versus subscribing to a product like Wolfram Programming Cloud.

Right now Wolfram Desktop is only available with Wolfram Programming Cloud. However, as additional Wolfram Cloud products are released, Wolfram Desktop will evolve. In the future, look for it as an option with Wolfram Discovery Platform, Wolfram Data Science Platform, and more.

If you have other questions, ask away! Or, if you'd prefer to talk to someone one-on-one, you can contact sales through this form. More information is available on the Wolfram Desktop option at this page.

Clayton Voyles - Wolfram Research Inc - Lead Business Analyst

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles
24 Replies

So, there is no Desktop version of Wolfram Desktop? If so, this is a very confuse name.

It would be simpler to call it Wolfram Cloud Suit.

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta

Wolfram Desktop is a program that you download and install to a local machine. It requires an eligible Wolfram Cloud subscription to use it and only works with cloud files.

Thanks for the question!

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles

So the program is not available yet (Wolfram Dektop). Ok! Now it makes sense. Tks for your clarification.

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta

It is available right now, as an option for eligible Wolfram Programming Cloud subscriptions.

Wolfram Programming Cloud Subscriptions

Wolfram Programming Cloud (WPC) Producer subscriptions have the option to download and use Wolfram Desktop. As an introductory offer, this is also included with an annual subscription to WPC Developer.

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles

I have a subscription for the cloud and I have installed Wolfram Desktop (part of my cloud account). If I start the Desktop I am unable to login using the Desktop (Cloud Usage using with Firefox works). I all way get the Error message "Cannot connect to the Wolfram Cloud, Pease try again later". I have tried this with two different computers with two different networks. Always the Error. Any ideas?

POSTED BY: Andre Koppel

Clayton, where can I find more information about how to connect my company Private Database and Wolfram Cloud? (In my case Microsoft SQL). I'm asking because one of the Team option differences from Producer is Automated Report capability, but I understand that just Private Cloud has possibility to connect with my private database. It's this? The problem is that I can't do automated reports without connect into my private database, so this advantage of Team option is strange to me. I'm getting something wrong? Tks in advance.

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta

Are you thinking about the case where you will not / cannot allow access to your database outside of your local network?

POSTED BY: Jesus Hernandez

@Jesus, In this case I believe that the only solution is a Wolfram Private Cloud no? But I'm considering the case when I have an external IP address, or a VPN for the local network. Even in this case, the only solution is Private Cloud? Wolfram will have difficulty to get into corporate world with the current plain. I can't do anything very useful (in business word) if I can't connect into the company database. Think about automated reports of plan 5 (Team).

POSTED BY: Rodrigo Murta

Thanks for this post but it stays somewhat unclear to me on the Mathematica part. I thought the rebranding of the Mathematica language to the Wolfram Language would fit everywhere with Wolfram Products (Cloud, Desktop etc). So do you keep the name Mathematica for the current Mathematica 9 and future versions. Does it mean that Mathematica 9 next version won't be Wolfram Desktop ... (I lazily assumed it would) but Mathematica 10? I also would like to know if we can expect the tight integration between WolframAlpha to 'dissappear' from the Mathematica 10 and evolve on the Wolfram Desktop products only? I personally use the Mathematica 9 home edition. I would like to upgrade to Mathematica 10 (when is it available.. :) ) but I start having a feeling that features/functions might change with respect to Wolfram labeled products. Like many ISV's pushing customer to the cloud for a closer lock-in and easier access to their budgets. What can we expect?

POSTED BY: l van Veen

Great questions. What I can tell you is this:

  • Mathematica 10 is the next version of Mathematica. Everything you love about Mathematica 9 plus a whole lot more, including Wolfram Cloud integration. You will be hearing more about this very soon. We are not removing features.
  • As stated in the original post, Wolfram Desktop is not a product that you can buy. It is a program that you can download, as part of an eligible Wolfram Programming Cloud subscription. A desktop interface to your Wolfram Programming Cloud subscription. Wolfram Desktop will not replace Mathematica 10 as they are not comparable. It's like replacing your car (Mathematica 10) with your garage (Wolfram Desktop). Not the same thing.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your questions!

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles

Andre Koppel,

Is the login problem still there? A lot of fixes have gone in over the past week.

POSTED BY: Bruce Miller

Bruce, I have tried it this morning (Berlin, Germany) on a system at home and some minutes ago on a system at work. The problem isn't solved. It's the same as before. Wolfram Desktop is unable to connect. I have to change my locale to US english to become able to login. Really I can't do this because several programs installed on my german system didn't work as expected if the locale (in Germany) isn't german. I really have no idea why there is a connection to the locale while doing login. I have no problem using englisch number formats while working with Mathematica, but changing the locale (and reboot) to login isn't really an option.

POSTED BY: Andre Koppel

Developers are investigating the locale problem.

You are not the only customer hit by it. My apologies for the inconvenience.

POSTED BY: Bruce Miller

Last night I got a twit about release of Mathematica 10. The Wolfram Blog shows the announcement. Afaik Wolfram Cloud is integrated into Mathematica 10. So my quiestion concerning this: Are the problems the same? Additional Entry: 2014.07.10 Indeed, it's the same Problem with Mathematica 10, I have tried it

POSTED BY: Andre Koppel
Posted 10 years ago

I think the confusion (for me) comes from my experience with Wolfram on RasPi. It seemed to me that the new model was that Mathematica was simply a notebook interface for Wolfram Language programs. There was a separate icon for Wolfram which launched in a command prompt. This led me to believe that I would be able to use future versions of Mathematica to author programs that could be hosted on a server as a service, i.e. taking variable using the HTTPRequestData.

It seems like the Wolfram Language will not be allowed to install that way (except for the RasPi). Can you clarify this?

POSTED BY: Martin LaBelle

Glad to see Mathematica 10 is out! As already written earlier I use the Mathematica Home edition. What remains a bit obscure is what I get with it related to the Cloud. It seems that MM 10 will come with some integration with Wolfram Alpha data but not the whole set. Also I can't really seem to find what I need to purchase if I want to use CloudDeploy as an example. I also would like to be able to create small RestFull API's for fun and what have you. I notice that we'll have Wolfram Desktop (as described above) and Mathematica Online. What is the difference between those two? How does Mathematica online relate to Mathematica Desktop? Sure would like to see a descision tree with all options and costs to make the best choice! As observed by another comment the costs of cloud credits are much more expensive in Europe. It doesn't seem fair and worthwhile to use it at those costs.

POSTED BY: l van Veen
Posted 10 years ago

I'm a Mathematica 9 Home edition user. I decided to go with the annual Developer Cloud option to get Wolfram Desktop, and I'm pretty much using it just like I did MM9. The only significant difference impacting my usage so far is that I cannot save and open local .nb files, but I uploaded my collection of notebooks from MM9 to the Cloud and it's been fine (none of my files exceed the 10MB upload limit). I can still Import local files for analysis, Export results, and so on. I also wanted the ability to use CloudDeploy, and I was too impatient to wait for MM10.

I do agree that Wolfram could provide more product selection assistance.

POSTED BY: Kirk Klobe

You can use Mathematica 10 to author and deploy through the Wolfram Cloud, as long as you have a Wolfram Cloud product subscription. For example, if you get Premier Service Plus, or purchase Mathematica Online, you can deploy from Mathematica 10 to the Cloud. Save files from M10 to Mathematica Online, deploy from Mathematica 10 and monitor/tweak from Mathematica Online. They work together.

Mathematica, Wolfram Programming Cloud, Wolfram Alpha - they are all based on the Wolfram Language. You can use the Wolfram Language through any of these products.

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles

Mathematica Online is meant for existing Mathematica users and prospective customers that need a cloud based Mathematica experience. It will make it easier to share notebooks, publish your work, and edit/view notebooks on the go. If you get Premier Service Plus, it includes Mathematica Online. You can share files between the two and use cloud functions directly from the Mathematica 10 notebook.

POSTED BY: Clayton Voyles

Only if you are using the US locale currently. Neither MMA10 nor Wolfram Desktop works with the cloud products if you system isn't US english. Have tried it again today. It's a known problem.

POSTED BY: Andre Koppel

I think the cloud is a great idea and product. But there are some difficulties. If you don't stay in the US the delay is very big. Sometimes it needs several seconds until you get a response. I think this is because routing is using a great number of hops. Then there is the unsolved locale problem. The Wolfram Desktop didn't work with german locale settings. One additional problem is by law. Here is germany data security laws are very strict. Using a cloud system to evaluate or process data that is not hosted in germany may create conflicts with the law. Because of this most customers ask: Is it hosted in germany? If your answer is "no" you don't get the order or mandate. To make the wolfram cloud a best seller, Wolfram should create a product "private cloud" that can be hosted on own servers.

POSTED BY: Andre Koppel
Posted 10 years ago

What about Mathematica vs Wolfram System? Is Wolfram Research phasing out the Mathematica term in favor of Wolfram System?

POSTED BY: Miguel Olivo-V

agree with the European delay issue. Here in Sweden, the browser based version of the editor only works for a few lines of code. Off-line (that is the Producer tier) is a precondition to do anything useful right now, hope that it will be released soon. A bit of a paradox that the price is higher in Europe and the service is worse.

POSTED BY: Fredrik Doberl
Posted 7 years ago

Re your "users … that need a cloud based Mathematica experience."

Iiuc, the reasons one might need a cloud-based solution are

  1. To use Mathematica on a device where one cannot a) install the app or b) save data, or
  2. To improve speed or ease of access to data accessible in the cloud (at Wolfram or maybe elsewhere), or
  3. To enable simultaneous access by multiple users

Is that correct? Are there any other reasons one might want to have a cloud-based Mathematica experience?

POSTED BY: human engr
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