How to find out the Linux distribution name and version

There is the old method cat /etc/*-release to match distribution release file.

For example on openSUSE this will match with /etc/SuSE-release.

This method is deprecated and will be removed in the future.

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cat /etc/*-release
NAME="openSUSE Leap"
VERSION="42.1"
VERSION_ID="42.1"
PRETTY_NAME="openSUSE Leap 42.1 (x86_64)"
ID=opensuse
ANSI_COLOR="0;32"
CPE_NAME="cpe:/o:opensuse:opensuse:42.1"
BUG_REPORT_URL="https://bugs.opensuse.org"
HOME_URL="https://opensuse.org/"
ID_LIKE="suse"
openSUSE 42.1 (x86_64)
VERSION = 42.1
CODENAME = Malachite
# /etc/SuSE-release is deprecated and will be removed in the future, use /etc/os-release instead

There is a more modern and more universal method cat /etc/os-release.

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cat /etc/os-release
NAME="openSUSE Leap"
VERSION="42.1"
VERSION_ID="42.1"
PRETTY_NAME="openSUSE Leap 42.1 (x86_64)"
ID=opensuse
ANSI_COLOR="0;32"
CPE_NAME="cpe:/o:opensuse:opensuse:42.1"
BUG_REPORT_URL="https://bugs.opensuse.org"
HOME_URL="https://opensuse.org/"
ID_LIKE="suse"

There is also a command with a more concise output lsb_release -a.

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lsb_release -a
LSB Version: core-5.0-amd64:core-5.0-noarch
Distributor ID: SUSE LINUX
Description: openSUSE Leap 42.1 (x86_64)
Release: 42.1
Codename: n/a

To know the kernel version there is the uname command:

  • uname -a to have all informations
  • uname -rs to have kernel name and version only
  • uname -m to have architecture type

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uname -a
Linux linux-7o7a.site 4.1.20-11-default #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Mar 18 14:42:07 UTC 2016 (0a392b2) x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

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uname -rs
Linux 4.1.20-11-default

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uname -m
x86_64

An alternative method is to see the /proc/version file that is showing kernel version and gcc version used to build it.

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cat /proc/version
Linux version 4.1.20-11-default ([email protected]) (gcc version 4.8.5 (SUSE Linux) ) #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Mar 18 14:42:07 UTC 2016 (0a392b2)

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