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Old 01-03-2004, 01:15 PM   #1
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Question How do I determine what version of Linux is running?

I have been handed-down an old computer that has 2 CPU's (133Mhz Pentium 1, I think) and two 1 Gigabyte SCSI hard disks. It has RedHat Linux running on it and it works well -- it networks (I can get to it over the network and Internet). It even has Apache running on it.

However, this is an old version of RedHat (uname -r returns 2.0.29). My problem is I need to install WebSphereMQ Version 5.3 and that requires a Linux kernel 2.4 with glibc version 2.2 or later using Linux threads. Therefore, I am sure I need to update the OS to get that.

The questions I have are:
1. How can I tell what version of RedHat is already running on this machine.

2. Is there a version of RedHat that uses the 2.4 kernel and glibc 2.2 or later and Linux threads that will fit and run on this machine?

3. What is the best way to approach the upgrade if there is a version I can use, upgrade or full install?

Any information or tips you might offer are appreciated!
Old 01-03-2004, 01:52 PM   #2
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Check your /etc directory for a file called <whatever-distro>-version or the likes. Most likely it will be something like redhat-version in your case, etc.

I would think most of the 7.0 or later uses kernel 2.4 and later, not sure about glibc exactly. You should be able to update these, but you should expect other things that will need to be updated as well if you remove the old packages, etc. If you don't want to be doing alot of upgrading of packages, etc and breaking older packages or programs that need the older versions of glibc and such, I would suggest just installing the updates alongside the older one's, etc.
Old 01-03-2004, 02:09 PM   #3
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I can't find a redhat-version or red*-version or *-version file anywhere on the machine. Maybe this is so old it does not have one.
Anyway, I will try to get hold of version 7 or something like that. I will check, but version 9 is probably too large for a 1 gig drive.
Old 01-03-2004, 04:41 PM   #4
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uname -r
Should tell you what kernel version your running, can't help with the RedHat question though sorry.
Old 01-03-2004, 05:04 PM   #5
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"uname -r" for kernel.
"cat /etc/issue" for distro (on any distro)

also, i know rh8+ use 2.4

cant you apt-get install your 2.4 kernel?

Last edited by h/w; 01-03-2004 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 01-03-2004, 05:59 PM   #6
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the virtual console login screen should show you that information as well....
when opening a V.C. you shoud see a screen such as

Red Hat Linux Version 7.2
Kernel 2.4.23 on an i686

localhost login:
Old 01-03-2004, 10:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses everyone!
When I `cat /etc/issue` I get:
Welcome to Linux 2.0.29.

and `uname -r` returns:

So I clearly have linux kernel version 2.0.29
I will try apt-get to get 2.4 and see how that works.
It seems like I saw some where in my searching that
there is a way to get apt to work on Red Hat rpm's.

Sorry to sound dumb, but I don't know how to run a Virtual Console session. I will look that up (Google) and see if I can figure it out.

Basically, if I can just get the kernel up to 2.4 and the glibc up to 2.2
I should be in good shape.
I noticed that the previous guy who had this thing has the second disk drive set up as some kind of emergency backup, and I was thinking I might try to enable it full time so I can use the first drive for Linux and the second one for installing applications, etc.
Does that sound reasonable? This machine won't be a high-availibility system, just a lab box for testing stuff.

Thanks again, everyone.
Old 01-04-2004, 10:49 PM   #8
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Update --
I found the 2.4 kernel at and tried to compile it but it failed to compile. Ended with a fatal error 11. So here is my plan:
1. Upgrade from CD to Red Hat 9 because I should be able to do a "Server" installation since this won't be a desktop system and will not need X or GNOME or KDE. According to the Red Hat documentation I should be able to do a minimum "Server" install in 850 MB, or 1.5 GB if everything except X is installed.
2. Make sure LVM is enabled and then `cfdisk` the second disk and then create a large logical volume consisting of both physical SCSI disks. I had thought they were 1 GB disks but according to `cfdisk` they are 2 GB. That is the first good news I've had so far.
Does that sound like a plan?
Thanks again to everyone for their info and suggestions.
Old 08-25-2004, 03:36 PM   #9
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Instead of doing cat /etc/<distroname>-version, use cat /etc/<distroname>-release.

Or simply:
> cat /etc/*-release

That should give you distrubution and release info

Old 08-25-2004, 03:55 PM   #10
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I'm guessing you have Red Hat 4.1, since 4.2 (the oldest RH release with full details on distrowatch) was released with a 2.0.30 kernel. That distro is so hopelessly out of date that it's worthless. You'll be running 8 year old software with 8 year old (read easily exploitable) security holes. I'd definitely upgrade the distro, but why do you want to use RH9? It's out of support (except for the Fedora Legacy project, which isn't exactly fast with releasing updates). Does WebSphere MQ explicitly require Red Hat?
Old 04-04-2006, 11:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by h/w
"uname -r" for kernel.
"cat /etc/issue" for distro (on any distro)
I cannot determine what version of SUSE I am running. When I use "cat /etc/issue" the system says "Welcome to Sun Java Desktop System 2003".

Maybe I should upgrade to SUSE10
Old 04-04-2006, 02:12 PM   #12
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It would seem that you're not running SUSE at all. In any case, upgrading to the latest version is probably a good thing.

And you're better off starting your own thread rather than resurrecting one that hasn't been posted in for 18 months(!), for several reasons - including the fact that threads with no replies get auto-bumped, so you lose out if you reply to an old one.
Old 04-04-2006, 09:24 PM   #13
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If you've really got 4GB instead of 2GB, then just do a fresh minimal Server install of RH FC5 (or whichever distro you want/WebSphereMQ requires). Given the age of the orig post, I'd check the WebSphereMQ requerments again; bound to have changed since then.
Incidentally, try to put as much RAM in as possible (if you can find any), that'll make up for the cpu somewhat.
Old 04-06-2006, 12:22 PM   #14
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Isn't there the command 'kernelversion'?
Old 04-07-2006, 03:52 PM   #15
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No unfortunatly KERNELVERSION does not work.

Well the good news is, after some reading up I decided to follow the general advice and install Windows XP first. This was followed by an almost trouble free installation of SUSE10. SUSE10 is a good choice for a novice, providing the automatic GRUB installation and a Windows style interface (accomplished all in one day) - well done guys.



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