Given a minimal version of a Linux system, how can you know which distribution and which version of the distribution you are working on? This is a vital question. First, you may think about typing in uname -a, but this does not provide all of the information you may need. Luckily, there is a file that almost all distributions have that keeps this valuable data.
This is the /etc/os-release file. You might guess how it can be viewed because we covered the use of cat command previously. So, you simply do the following and you will happily have what you are looking for.
$ cat /etc/os-release NAME="Ubuntu" VERSION="18.04.2 LTS (Bionic Beaver)" ID=ubuntu ID_LIKE=debian PRETTY_NAME="Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS" VERSION_ID="18.04" HOME_URL="https://www.ubuntu.com/" SUPPORT_URL="https://help.ubuntu.com/" BUG_REPORT_URL="https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/" PRIVACY_POLICY_URL="https://www.ubuntu.com/legal/terms-and-policies/privacy-policy" VERSION_CODENAME=bionic UBUNTU_CODENAME=bionic
uname, on the other hand, provides the following system information:
- -a, –all print all information, in the following order, except omit -p and -i if unknown:
- -s, –kernel-name print the kernel name
- -n, –nodename print the network node hostname
- -r, –kernel-release print the kernel release
- -v, –kernel-version print the kernel version
- -m, –machine print the machine hardware name
- -p, –processor print the processor type (non-portable)
- -i, –hardware-platform print the hardware platform (non-portable)
- –version output uname version information and exit
- -o, –operating-system (mostly outputs GNU/Linux)
Examples of uname usage
$ uname -o GNU/Linux $ uname -m x86_64 $ uname -r 4.15.0-54-generic $ uname -s Linux $ uname -a Linux cloudstack 4.15.0-54-generic #58-Ubuntu SMP Mon Jun 24 10:55:24 UTC 2019 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
As you can see above, the distribution and version of the distribution cannot be found using the uname command.
Using lsb_release command
On Debian based Linux distributions, you can use the lsb_release command to print distribution-specific information.
-v, --version: Show the version of the LSB against which your current installation is compliant. -i, --id: Display the distributor's ID. -d, --description: Display a description of the currently installed distribution. -r, --release: Display the release number of the currently installed distribution. -c, --codename: Display the code name of the currently installed distribution. -a, --all: Display all of the above information. -s, --short: Use the short output format for any information displayed. This format omits the leading header(s). -h, --help: Show summary of options.
See examples on usage below.
$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Debian Description: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) Release: 10 Codename: buster $ lsb_release -c Codename: buster $ lsb_release -d Description: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) $ lsb_release -i Distributor ID: Debian
Using hostnamectl command
For Linux systems with Systemd init, you can get some system information from hostnamectl command output, like the Operating System, Kernel version and CPU architecture.
[email protected]:~# hostnamectl Static hostname: debian10 Icon name: computer-vm Chassis: vm Machine ID: 2e5ced54e5274424b2165b459a18372a Boot ID: e21975d65c53409497466bfbce9cc193 Virtualization: kvm Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-5-amd64 Architecture: x86-64
See the complete list of available options with:
$ hostnamectl --help hostnamectl [OPTIONS...] COMMAND ... Query or change system hostname. -h --help Show this help --version Show package version --no-ask-password Do not prompt for password -H --host=[[email protected]]HOST Operate on remote host -M --machine=CONTAINER Operate on local container --transient Only set transient hostname --static Only set static hostname --pretty Only set pretty hostname Commands: status Show current hostname settings set-hostname NAME Set system hostname set-icon-name NAME Set icon name for host set-chassis NAME Set chassis type for host set-deployment NAME Set deployment environment for host set-location NAME Set location for host See the hostnamectl(1) man page for details.
Check /etc/issue Content
View content on /etc/issue.
$ cat /etc/issue Debian GNU/Linux 10 \n \l
Finding the distribution and version of the distribution is as easy as you have found out. We hope it was beneficial and informative.