A full Wolfram System installation consists of thousands of separate files, arranged in several hundred directories under the main installation directory. The location of the main installation directory is determined at install time. From within a Wolfram Language kernel, its name is given by the value of $InstallationDirectory.
Default locations for the Wolfram System installation directory.
The executable programs that launch the Wolfram System are typically in the main installation directory. Sometimes there may also be links to them, or scripts accessing them, in other locations. From within a Wolfram Language kernel, First[$CommandLine] gives the full name of the executable program corresponding to that kernel.
script for preprocessing and compiling WSTP C source files
Typical executable programs accessible from the installation directory.
The main installation directory has three standard subdirectories that contain material distributed with the Wolfram System. Under normal circumstances, none of the contents of these directories should ever be modified, except, for example, if you choose to edit a shared stylesheet.
bundled Wolfram System add-ons
Wolfram Language documentation
Wolfram System files
Top‐level subdirectories of the main installation directory.
Particularly on Linux systems, the Wolfram System often has executable files for different computer architectures and systems stored in a single overall directory structure. Each system is in a subdirectory with a name given by $SystemID. Some resource directories may also contain files specific both to particular languages and particular computing environments. These files are given in subdirectories such as Japanese/Windows.
kernel binaries or elements for each computer system
system-specific .mx files used by the kernel
message and text files used by the kernel
front end binaries or elements for each computer system
files used by the front end in each window system environment
message and text files used by the front end
default notebook stylesheets
default palette notebooks
WSTP and other libraries used by the kernel and front end
developer kits for WSTP and other connection technologies
Wolfram System fonts, often copied to a central directory
specifications of character encodings
Linux man pages and other environment-specific documentation
PostScript interpreters and graphics programs
PostScript definitions and other resources for graphics
packages for setting up graphics
Typical subdirectories of the SystemFiles directory, part one.
various auxiliary programs used in installation, called automatically by the main installer program
files for inclusion in other programs
files for the Java Runtime Environment (if needed)
Typical subdirectories of the SystemFiles directory, part two.
Files of information to be displayed by the Wolfram System Help Viewer are stored in the Documentation directory.
pages that categorize and link to related functions
reference pages for each of the Wolfram System's built-in objects
reference pages for file formats that the Wolfram System handles
documentation for add-on items
Typical subdirectories of the Documentation directory.
You can customize your Wolfram System by adding files that can be loaded into the system under different circumstances. Such files are conventionally placed in either systemwide or user‐specific base directories.
additional palettes to appear in the front end menu
Some typical kernel and front end configuration files.
Kernel configuration files can contain any Wolfram Language commands. These commands can test global variables such as $SystemID and $MachineName to determine what operations to perform. Front end configuration files can contain only certain special commands, as described in "Input Syntax".
named add-on applications
add-ons to be loaded automatically when the Wolfram System is started
With the default setting for the kernel $Path variable, an add‐on can be loaded from within a Wolfram System session simply by using the command <<name`. This will load the init.m file for the add‐on, which should in turn be set up to load other necessary files or packages.
By placing an add‐on under the Autoload subdirectory of $BaseDirectory or $UserBaseDirectory, you can have the Wolfram System automatically load the add‐on whenever you start the kernel or the front end.