Linux Command: Show Linux Version

Posted on in Categories , , last updated December 29, 2013

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.

[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:

2.6.32-23-generic-pae

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

Where,

  • 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) ([email protected]) (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:

Linux
3.2.0-0.bpo.1-amd64
#1 SMP Sat Feb 11 08:41:32 UTC 2012

Find Distribution Version

Type the following command:
$ cat /etc/*release
OR
$ 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

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

19 comment

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

    Linux pd13027a.symphonyteleca.com 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

    1. 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).

    2. 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)
      VERSION = 9

  2. If we want to search the contents of all of the files in current directory and display the total number of lines in them that contain the string Linux. Which of the below commands will do that

  3. how to see the version of linux like for ex: redhat 4.4 , redhat 5.4, redhat 5.9
    you know if we make some modifications in /etc/redhat-release v can’t find the correct version like i made some modification redhat enterprises 6.4 to 7.4 all commands are showing this 7.4 version only but not showing original version of that o.s is there any command to see the linux original version please resply for this anybody thank you.

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