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Old 02-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #16
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On a Debian system:
$ cat /etc/
Debian GNU/Linux 4.0
$ cat /etc/debian_version
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:46 AM   #17
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Wink Super Newbie figs it out

[QUOTE=UpstreamSwimmer;3026265]Not a goofy question at all. I just got an Eee PC and knew it's runs Xandros but didn't know which version of Debian it's based on. This would be useful when searching for repos.

For the record, I looked in /etc/issue, as maanga mentioned, and found it's Debian 4.0 (etch).

As mentioned in maanga's link, /proc/version returned even more specific info: Debian 4.1.1-21.

So I got completely lost trying to find out exactly this. I wanted to upgrade FireFox from ver 2 to 3.6 but I didn't know what distro. For the smart alecks who said look at the CD - first of all it's a DVD which is why I got this ASUS EEPC for free in the first place. It doesn't have a DVD and the guy who had it couldn't figure out how to load the OS even though it came with the disks.

Anyway I was able to load linux w/o difficulty but using the shell was new to me so just to clarify for the next newbie

First you have to get a console window open

2 ways

type "ctrl alt T"


open home (icon bottom left) then work/file manager/tools/open console window

you should see


type in

cat /proc/version

note the space beween cat and /proc

it should show something like this:

home/user> cat /proc/version
Linux version (root@i386-coreos) (gcc version 4.1.2 20061115 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.1-21)) #2 Tue Jul 8 12:00:00 EDT 2008

Good luck newbies hope this helps any asus eee pc types.

P.S. Still haven't figured out how to update firefox
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:16 AM   #18
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opening old post bad i know

but i had to comment on the rudeness of some of the replies.
not everyone is using linux on their home pc which they installed. Not everyone who finds themselves on a linux machine is an expert who thinks re-installing their kernel once a week is fun.

There are many ways of finding yourself on a linux machine, most of these are not by choice.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:30 AM   #19
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another way...

lsb_release -a
Old 08-15-2011, 04:01 PM   #20
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Thank you, this helped me out greatly. For those that laughed at not knowing what version of linux is running - it's only laughable if 'you' in fact installed it. If you are shelling into a linux O/S that you need to install drivers to than this is a very useful tool.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #21
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I do not know which version of linux got installed or the commands that go with it.

Ya know it may seem like a dumb question but I found myself asking it this AM I downloaded gnome 3 and it was 900 mb file and installed it. I seriously do not know which version i am running now I tried to go to terminal and update with the sudo command but it does not work. I am clueless as to what commands to use So I used the command "uname -a && cat /etc/*release"
it came up with this.
Linux linux-imqh #1 SMP 2011-07-21 02:17:24 +0200 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
openSUSE 11.4 (i586)
VERSION = 11.4
CODENAME = Celadon
Any help here would be good because none of the commands that I know are working.
Old 10-23-2011, 01:23 PM   #22
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The output already shows that you are running the 32 bit version (i686) of openSuse 11.4, what else do you want to know?
Old 10-23-2011, 05:26 PM   #23
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I guess I am good now After I posted that message I didn't even know that opensuse was a version on linux. Now I do
thanks for the reply though
Old 10-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #24
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Webmin has a lot of information including what version you are running.
Old 05-11-2013, 07:16 PM   #25
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Cool Debian

PRETTY_NAME="Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 (wheezy)"
NAME="Debian GNU/Linux"
VERSION="7.0 (wheezy)"

cat /etc/debian_version

lsb_release -a
Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 (wheezy)
Release: 7.0
Codename: wheezy
Old 07-31-2013, 09:14 AM   #26
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How do I tell what version of Linux is running?

Here is a handy alias for that.

alias urel="lsb_release -a;cat /proc/version;uname -a;cat /etc/*-release"
Old 05-13-2014, 02:04 PM   #27
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Reason for not knowing my version of Linux!!

Originally Posted by bulliver View Post
uname -a && cat /etc/*release
I know that this is a really old thread, but it helped me!

Thanks bulliver!

For all the people that said.. "There is no way you can't know what version of Linux you installed!"
Here is a reason!
I am taking a Harvard course and they have an appliance to download and run in VirtualBox. I did that and now I am running a version of Linux that I did not install so I have no idea what they used. I am still a newbie in the Linux world and now need to figure out the version of linux so I can change the networking after I did the software updates that killed the networking that was working.
Generic release 19 (Generic)
VERSION="19 (Generic)"
PRETTY_NAME="Generic 19 (Generic)"
Generic release 19 (Generic)
Generic release 19 (Generic)


P.S. cat /proc/version actually gave more information and displayed "Red Hat 4.8.1-1"

Last edited by terrypen; 05-13-2014 at 02:18 PM. Reason: added better command
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:03 PM   #28
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Reboot and watch the console?
Old 05-16-2014, 02:36 PM   #29
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@terrypen: pretty much any distro from the last year of so will have /etc/os-release. It is a standard release file introduced by those who brought you systemd. In this case I think it was a good idea and distros that have avoided systemd also have it, e.g. Slackware. Internal formatting is also standardised.
Old 05-16-2014, 03:59 PM   #30
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You might also find useful information in something like /proc/version or something like that.

Probably, though, a parse of the result of the uname command would be the most-generic way to do it.


release, suse

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