How to Find Out What Version of Linux You Are Running

How to Find Out What Version of Linux You Are Running

In this tutorial I will show you, how to find out what version of Linux you are running.

How do I find out Unix kernel version? You need to use the uname command which print certain system information such as:

  1. Kernel version and name.
  2. Print the machine hardware name.
  3. print the processor type.
  4. print the operating system and more.

uname command to display the Linux or Unix kernel version

This command works under all Linux distributions and other UNIX-like operating systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, HP UX, OS X and friends. Type the following command to see running kernel version:
$ uname -r
Output taken from Linux based system:

2.6.22-14-generic

Where,

  • 2 : Kernel version
  • 6 : The major revision of the kernel
  • 22 : The minor revision of the kernel
  • 14 : Immediate fixing / bug fixing for critical error
  • generic : Distribution specific sting. For example, Redhat appends string such as EL5 to indicate RHEL 5 kernel.

Another common usage is as follows:
$ uname -mrsn
Output taken from Linux:

Linux moon.linuxmasters.in 2.6.18-53.1.4.el5 x86_64

Outputs from my OS X Unix desktop

$ uname -a  
Darwin desktop01 13.0.0 Darwin Kernel Version 13.0.0: Thu Sep 19 22:22:27 PDT 2013; root:xnu-2422.1.72~6/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

Outputs from OpenBSD Unix server

$ uname -mrs
OpenBSD 5.4 amd64

How to find the kernel version with /proc/version file (Linux only command)

You can also obtain kernel version from /proc/version file by using cat command as follows:
$ less /proc/version
$ more /proc/version
$ cat /proc/version

Sample outputs:

Linux version 2.6.18-53.1.4.el5 (brewbuilder@hs20-bc2-3.build.redhat.com) (gcc version 4.1.2 20070626 (Red Hat 4.1.2-14)) #1 SMP Wed Nov 14 10:37:27 EST 200

Package management tools (Linux only command)

You can list all installed kernel and its version with the following command under RHEL / CentOS / Suse / Fedora Linux :
$ rpm -q kernel
Output:

kernel-2.6.18-53.el5
kernel-2.6.18-53.1.4.el5

If you are using Debian / Ubuntu, try:
$ dpkg --list | grep linux-image
Output:

ii  linux-image                            2.6.22.14.21                         Generic Linux kernel image.
rc  linux-image-2.6.20-15-generic          2.6.20-15.27                         Linux kernel image for version 2.6.20 on x86/
ii  linux-image-2.6.20-16-generic          2.6.20-16.32                         Linux kernel image for version 2.6.20 on x86/
ii  linux-image-2.6.22-14-generic          2.6.22-14.47                         Linux kernel image for version 2.6.22 on x86/
ii  linux-image-generic                    2.6.22.14.21                         Generic Linux kernel image

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How to Find Out What Version of Linux You Are Running
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