How to Check OS Version in Linux

check os version on linux

Linux version can be checked using inbuilt commands or can read from specific files. It is important to determine the distribution name and version on many occasion like when doing package updates or OS update.

There are a lot of Linux distributions available like Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Mint, Arch, Fedora, RHEL, and more.

In this tutorial, I will show how to check the Linux version from the command line.

Check Linux Version

There are mainly 5 ways we can get Linux distribution name and its version.

01) From /etc/os-release

Use cat command to read the content of the file /etc/os-release, run the following command:

Output from CentOS
# cat /etc/os-release
NAME="CentOS Linux"
VERSION="7 (Core)"
ID="centos"
ID_LIKE="rhel fedora"
VERSION_ID="7"
PRETTY_NAME="CentOS Linux 7 (Core)"
ANSI_COLOR="0;31"
CPE_NAME="cpe:/o:centos:centos:7"
HOME_URL="https://www.centos.org/"
BUG_REPORT_URL="https://bugs.centos.org/"

CENTOS_MANTISBT_PROJECT="CentOS-7"
CENTOS_MANTISBT_PROJECT_VERSION="7"
REDHAT_SUPPORT_PRODUCT="centos"
REDHAT_SUPPORT_PRODUCT_VERSION="7"
Output from Ubuntu
$ cat /etc/os-release
NAME="Ubuntu"
VERSION="18.04.4 LTS (Bionic Beaver)"
ID=ubuntu
ID_LIKE=debian
PRETTY_NAME="Ubuntu 18.04.4 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

02) Using lsb_release command

The lsb_release -a displays the Linux version information from the command line. The output will display distribution ID, description, release and codename. To display only the description you can use lsb_release -d.

If you get "command not found" and then you need to install 'lsb-core' package.

Output
$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS
Release: 18.04
Codename: bionic

To display only the description, run:

$ lsb_release -d
Description:    Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS

03) Using Hostnamectl command

In modern Linux distributions which use systemd init systems, you can use hostnamectl command to display operating system version, run:

$ hostnamectl
   Static hostname: linoxide
         Icon name: computer-vm
           Chassis: vm
        Machine ID: cb018d6767ca4c8983df25647a8794b0
           Boot ID: ac9d219352a94cdba47494ebd1f42f5c
    Virtualization: kvm
  Operating System: CentOS Linux 7 (Core)
       CPE OS Name: cpe:/o:centos:centos:7
            Kernel: Linux 3.10.0-862.11.6.el7.x86_64
      Architecture: x86-64

04) From /etc/issue file

You can get version information from /etc/issue file, to read file content use cat or less command:

$ cat /etc/issue
Output
Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS \n \l

05) From /etc/*release or /etc/*version

Some distribution use release and version file and those files are specific to that distro.

$ echo /etc/*version /etc/*release
/etc/debian_version /etc/ec2_version /etc/lsb-release /etc/os-release

To read the content from /etc/*release or /etc/*version, run the following command:

$ cat /etc/*release
$ cat /etc/*version

Some outputs:

commands to check linux version

If you are interested to know the Linux kernel version and architecture then use uname command or you can read the content from /proc/version file.

Sample output

$ cat /proc/version
Linux version 3.10.0-862.11.6.el7.x86_64 (builder@kbuilder.dev.centos.org) (gcc version 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-28) (GCC) ) #1 SMP Tue Aug 14 21:49:04 UTC 2018
$ uname -srm
Linux 3.10.0-862.11.6.el7 x86_64

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned different ways to find Linux OS name and version from I hope you enjoyed reading and please leave your suggestion in the below comment section.

Bobbin Zachariah 10:22 am

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