Linux Command: Show Linux Version

by on July 1, 2009 · 11 comments· LAST UPDATED December 29, 2013

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What command I need to type to display Linux kernel version and other information such as Linux distribution name? How do I check Linux kernel version number?

You need to use the following two commands:

[a] uname - Print kernel and system information.

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Estimated completion time1m

[b] lsb_release - Print distribution-specific information.

[c] /proc/version file - Print running kernel information.

How to check linux kernel version number?

Open a shell prompt (or a terminal) and type the following command to see your current Linux kernel version:
$ uname -r
Sample outputs:


Or type the following command:
$ uname -mrs
Sample outputs:

Linux 2.6.32-23-generic-pae i686

To print all information, enter:
$ uname -a
Sample outputs:

Linux vivek-laptop 2.6.32-23-generic-pae #37-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jun 11 09:26:55 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux


  • 2.6.32-23 - Linux kernel version number
  • pae - pae kernel type indicate that I'm accssing more than 4GB ram using 32 bit kernel.
  • SMP - Kernel that supports multi core and multiple cpus.

/proc/version file

Type the following command to see Linux version info:
$ cat /proc/version
Sample outputs:

Linux version 3.2.0-0.bpo.1-amd64 (Debian 3.2.4-1~bpo60+1) ( (gcc version 4.4.5 (Debian 4.4.5-8) ) #1 SMP Sat Feb 11 08:41:32 UTC 2012

The above output identifies the kernel version that is currently running. It includes the contents of /proc/sys/kernel/ostype, /proc/sys/kernel/osrelease, and /proc/sys/kernel/version files. For example:
$ cat /proc/sys/kernel/{ostype,osrelease,version}
Sample outputs:

#1 SMP Sat Feb 11 08:41:32 UTC 2012

Find Distribution Version

Type the following command:
$ cat /etc/*release
$ lsb_release -a
Sample outputs:

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:	Ubuntu
Description:	Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
Release:	10.04
Codename:	lucid

Here is another output from my Debian based server:

lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:	Debian
Description:	Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.6 (squeeze)
Release:	6.0.6
Codename:	squeeze

Related media

This tutorial is also available in a quick video format:

Video 01: Find The Linux Kernel Version Command Tutorial

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 vivek July 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

COluld you please help what explaination it gives regarding version of linux?.

Linux 2.6.32-71.el6.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Sep 1 01:33:01 EDT 2010 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux


2 TheLonelyDBA August 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm

also a simple command that will show the release of the Linux you have:

$ cat /etc/issue

output: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release x.x


3 R.Muthukumar October 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

how to find OS name with service pack in suse linux.. can you please give the command..



4 Phil November 25, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Not sure what you’re asking here exactly. To get a list of the packages installed you can use the rpm command. rpm -qa to query all packages installed (see man pages on command structure).


5 Sagar Bhuayr February 13, 2014 at 5:55 am

For check OS name simply enter “uname” command & for check packages installed or not we can check with the help of “rpm -qa packagename”.


6 Sriharsha Kalluru August 12, 2014 at 6:30 am

You can get that one from following commands.

To determine it is SuSE:
cat /proc/version

To check SuSE version:
cat /etc/SuSE-release
SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (i586)


7 Mohamed Ali Ahmed(Bile) January 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

thank you guys for this useful information.


8 Thiago April 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Thanks very much !!!!


9 suresh sawant April 30, 2014 at 6:18 pm

how to find linux redhat version

for e.p.– redhat 4.4 , redhat 5.4, redhat 5.9


10 Kaniti May 9, 2014 at 9:55 am

cat /etc/*release


11 Girish KG November 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

grep -Eo ‘^[^ ]+’ /etc/ | sed ‘2d’


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