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Manual Reference Pages  -  MATHOMATIC (1)


mathomatic - a computer algebra system




mathomatic [ -abcdehqrtuvwx ] [ -s level:time ] [ -m number ] [ input_files or input ]


Mathomatic is a general-purpose computer algebra system (CAS) that can symbolically solve, simplify, combine, and compare algebraic equations, perform standard, complex number, modular, and polynomial arithmetic, etc. It does some calculus and handles all elementary algebra, except logarithms. Trigonometry and function expansion are supported in a separate program called rmath(1). Plotting expressions with gnuplot is also supported.

mathomatic is the main Mathomatic application that does interactive symbolic-numeric mathematics through a simple command-line interface. Readline or editline support is usually compiled into this application, making it easy to edit input and recall previous input with the cursor keys. The numeric arithmetic is double precision floating point with about 14 decimal digits accuracy. Many results will be exact, because symbolic math is an exact math, and because multiple floating point numbers can be combined for a single mathematical value; for example: 2^(1/3), which is the cube root of 2 exactly.


-a Enable alternative colors. Ansi color mode will be enabled in MS-Windows, if this option is specified and color mode is on.

-b Enable bold colors. Color mode will be turned on and colors will be brighter if this option is specified. Same as the "set bold color" command.

-c Toggle color mode. This mode outputs ANSI terminal escape sequences to make each level of parentheses a different color, for easier reading. Requires a terminal emulator that supports ANSI color escape sequences. If the colors are too hard to see, use the -b option to increase the color brightness.

-d Set demo mode. Currently this mode only bypasses loading the startup (rc) file, and ignores the pause command. It also allows using the calculate command without prompting for the values of any of the variables.

-e Process mathematical expressions and Mathomatic commands instead of input files on the shell command line, and then quit. Unquoted space characters are the line separators on the Mathomatic input that follows this option. Works similar to entering it into the Mathomatic main prompt, except the autoselect option is turned off. Useful for quick command-line calculations. The startup messages are not displayed with this option. Follow this option with "--" so that expressions can start with a minus sign (-).

-h Display a brief help message listing all of these options and then exit.

-m number
  Change the memory size of equation spaces. It is followed by a decimal, floating point number which is a multiplier of the default equation space size. This allows larger equation spaces so that manipulating extremely large expressions will succeed without getting the "Expression too large" error. Specifying a number higher than 100 may make Mathomatic unresponsive.

-q Set quiet mode. The startup messages and prompts are not displayed. This is useful when piping or redirecting input into Mathomatic, because the input won’t be displayed, so prompt output should be turned off. This option does the same thing as the "set no prompt" command.

-r Disable readline or editline input processing. Readline, and the editline drop-in replacement library, allow line input editing using the cursor keys, and output terminal control codes, all of which can be turned off with this option.

-s level:time
  Set the enforced security level for the user’s Mathomatic session. Level 0 is the default with no security. Level 1 disallows shelling out (forking). Level 2 disallows shelling out and writing files. Level 3 disallows shelling out and reading/writing files. Level 4 is the highest security level and is the same as compiling with the -DSECURE option. This run-time option was created for use on open public servers. Specifying a colon, then a time in seconds, will time limit the application for that session.

-t Set test mode. Used when testing and comparing output. Bypasses loading startup (rc) file, turns off color mode and readline, sets wide output mode, ignores the pause command, etc. It also allows using the calculate command without prompting for the values of any of the variables.

-u Guarantee that standard output and standard error output are unbuffered. Also echoes all line input if not in quiet mode ( -q option ). Useful when piping.

-v Display program name and version number, then exit successfully.

-w Set wide output mode for an unlimited width output device like the "set wide" command does. Sets infinite screen columns and rows so that 2D (two-dimensional) expression output will always succeed and not be downgraded to 1D output when it doesn’t fit in the display area. Use when redirecting output or with a terminal emulator that doesn’t wrap lines. This mode only affects 2D output.

-x Enable HTML output mode (which is also valid XHTML). This makes Mathomatic output suitable for inclusion in a web page. Color and bold mode affect this mode, allowing HTML color output. Wide output mode is also set by this option, meaning expressions will always be displayed in 2D.


After any options, text files may be specified on the shell command line that will be automatically read in with the read command, unless the -e option is specified.

Mathomatic is best run from within a terminal emulator. It uses console line input and output for the user interface. First you type in your mathematical equations in standard algebraic notation, then you can solve them by typing in the variable name at the prompt, or perform operations on them with simple English commands. Type "help" or "?" for the help command, "help examples" to get started. If the command name is longer than 4 letters, you only need to type in the first 4 letters. Most commands operate on the current equation by default.

A command preceded by an exclamation point (such as "!ls") is taken to be a shell command and is passed unchanged to the shell (/bin/sh). "!" by itself invokes the default shell, which is specified in the SHELL environment variable. "!" is also the factorial operator.

Complete documentation is available in HTML and PDF formats; see the local documentation directory or online at "" for the latest Mathomatic documentation.


EDITOR The EDITOR environment variable specifies which text editor to use for the edit command.


  Optional startup file containing Mathomatic set command options. It should be a text file with one or more set options per line. For example, the line "no color" will make Mathomatic default to non-color mode, which is useful if you aren’t using a supported color device.


Mathomatic has been written by George Gesslein II (, with help from the Internet community.


The command to take the limit of an expression is partially functional and experimental. All else should work perfectly; if not, please report it as a bug to the author or on the Launchpad website: "".


rmath(1), matho-primes(1), primorial(1), matho-mult(1), matho-sum(1), matho-pascal(1), matho-sumsq(1)
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