Axiom Maths Program

Axiom is a free general purpose computer algebra system. It has been in development since 1971 originally as Scratchpad by researchers at IBM under the direction of Richard Dimick Jenks. In the 1990s it was sold to NAG and given its current name. In 2001 it was withdrawn from the market and released to Tim Daly, the project lead developer, under the Modified BSD License. In 2007, Axiom was forked into two different open source projects: OpenAxiom, and FriCAS.

Here I will explain how I have installed and run the program on my computer using the openSUSE operating system, if you are using a different operating system you may need to follow a slightly different procedure. This is purely a record of my own personal experience, I am not trying to write general install instructions.

On the Axiom download page:

On that page there are two options for running a precompiled binary on Linux, that is using docker or more conventional binary download.

Using Docker

The instructions on the Axiom webpage say "Remove the wrong docker" then install

In SUSE Yast2 I only seem to have the option to install the docker runtime, is this ? I dont have enough knowlege of docker to know.

axiom docker


Download Binary

This is the other method. I linked to this website:

and clicked on the latest binary (in my case for openSUSE), this downloads a tar-gzipped file which I unzipped to /usr/share directory.

I created a bash script, using a text editor, to start the program called containing the following:

echo start up axiom program
export AXIOM=/usr/share/axiom/mnt/opensuse
export PATH=/usr/share/axiom/mnt/opensuse/bin:$PATH

I can now start the program by starting a command line widow and typing:


start axiom

In addition to the command line window, when the program starts, a hyper-doc window is also created.


The program seems to work except when calling the draw function which seems to fail with:

>> System error:
Unknown bfd format

Also, although it will allow me to compile code, when I try to use it I also get: an 'Unknown bfd format' error.

This makes it hard for me to use this version of Axiom.

metadata block
see also:
Correspondence about this page

Book Shop - Further reading.

Where I can, I have put links to Amazon for books that are relevant to the subject, click on the appropriate country flag to get more details of the book or to buy it from them.

flag flag flag flag flag flag Axiom Volume 1: Tutorial. Documentation is freely availible from:


This site may have errors. Don't use for critical systems.

Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Martin John Baker - All rights reserved - privacy policy.