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There are several ways to get your Linux version from the command line. One way that just displays a basic name:


But this usually just returns “Linux”. Pretty sure you already knew that. A more detailed view would be:

uname -a

Which shows “all” the information uname provides.

Here are some other switches for uname:

    -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 or "unknown"
    -i, --hardware-platform  print the hardware platform or "unknown"
    -o, --operating-system   print the operating system
    --help     display this help and exit
    --version  output version information and exit

There is another method for gathering system information:

cat /proc/version

This will also show you quite a bit of information on your system.

Linux version 2.6.32-71.el6.x86_64 ( (gcc version 4.4.4 20100726 (Red Hat 4.4.4-13) (GCC) ) #1 SMP Wed Sep 1 01:33:01 EDT 2010

Some distros have their own methods of identification also, such as RedHat:

cat /etc/redhat-release

Consult your manuals for each distro to find out where they store this information.

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Published: Aug 20, 2011 by Jeremy Morgan. Contact me before republishing this content.