What linux version is installed

How to check Linux Version? [Linux Kernel Version Command]

Are you working with Linux OS and Would like to know that How to check linux version, Also What Linux version Command you should use to find the latest version on which you are running your system.

List of content you will read in this article:

Linux is a free and open-source operating system widely used as an alternative to Microsoft and Apple’s macOS [Mac operating system]. But Linux is a kernel that is considered the core component of the operating system and acts as a bridge between software applications and hardware. Are you looking to know how to check Linux version that you are using in your system or what Linux version command we can use to find Linux OS version? Then this article will guide you on how to do that.

What is Linux OS?

A Linux OS is built on the Linux kernel, GNU tools, and libraries. Many developers are using Linux for building and running mobile applications. Linux has played an essential role in developing affordable devices like Chromebooks that help to run the OS on the kernel. You can use Linux within the cloud computing and server environments due to various reasons, as mentioned below:

  • The developers of other communities support Linux’s distributions.
  • You can efficiently run the Linux kernel on a wide range of hardware. You can even install it with pre-existing systems.
  • It allows you to install the centralized software from the pre-existing repositories.
  • Linux does not require high resources and has a low requirement.
  • It is strongly recommended while creating application ecosystems, tools for the server.
  • Linux can easily sustain necessary changes to the operating system behaviors.
  • Linux is free and open-source, making it simple for the developers to choose it for practical reasons.
  • Some developers use Linux due to its features like accessibility and ensure freedom of expression.
  • The broad Linux community is also an excellent influence for some developers. Whenever developers have any queries or problems, they can consult the community results and feedback on the particular issue or reach out directly to one of many active developers to get your query resolved.
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History of Linux

After introducing UNIX in 1969, Richard Stallman was inspired to create a non-proprietary alternative to UNIX. He started working on the GNU project while working at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. In 1984, he left the laboratory work for distributing the GNU components as free software. The GNU kernel, also known as the GNU HURD, had gained the Free Software Foundation’s focus. FSF was founded and headed in 1985 by Stallman.

Another developer, Linus Torvalds, an undergraduate from Finnish, worked on the free alternative to UNIX. After he fed up with the licensing for MINIX, In 1991, he announced that he was working on an operating system resembling MINIX. Initially, he developed on MINIX using a C compiler. Linux has become a unique project with some developers who released Linux kernel version 1.0 with Torvalds in 1994.

Torvalds used GNU code and a C compiler from GNU; his kernel and many Linux distributions are built on the GNU components. Later Stallman expanded the term Linux to GNU/Linux as it describes both the role of the GNU involvement in the development of the Linux and the in-depth concept of fostering the GNU project Linux kernel. Even today, Linux distributions indicate the presence of both the Linux kernel and GNU elements.

Key Features of Linux Operating System

Though the Linux kernel has taken many concepts, features, and properties from Unix, you can still differ Linux system from the earlier UNIX system in the following ways:

  • Linux’s core component, called the kernel, was created independently from other OS components. It makes Linux borrow different elements from various sources like GNU to create a complete operating system.
  • Linux is an open-source operating system that is developed and maintained by a group of developers. The Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License, allowing the community developers to download and make any required changes. The GPL ensures that further changes and work must also maintain the original software license.
  • Like UNIX, Linux also has a monolithic kernel architecture. But Linux kernels can be loaded and unloaded dynamically on demand.
  • Unlike UNIX, Linux comes with symmetrical multiprocessor support, allowing you to access multiple processors using the single operating system, sharing the main memory and access to all I/O devices.
  • Unlike Unix, Linux’s kernel is preemptive, allowing the scheduler to force a context switch on a driver or another kernel part while executing.
  • Linux kernel does not maintain any difference between the threads and normal running processes.
  • Linux comes with an interactive Command Line Interface and a Graphical user interface for user interactivity.

Linux Distributions

By 2020, there are more than 500 unique Linux distributions. The most popular and commonly used distributions are Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, SUSE, etc. If we consider the family tree of Ubuntu, it contains more than 65 software applications alone.

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Below are some commonly used Linux distributions and the cases where they are used.


Why Use

It mostly works as a Mac operating system and is easy to use.


How to Find Out What Version of Linux You Are Running

There are several ways of knowing the version of Linux you are running on your machine as well as your distribution name and kernel version plus some extra information that you may probably want to have in mind or at your fingertips.

Therefore, in this simple yet important guide for new Linux users, I will show you how to do just that. Doing this may seem to be relatively easy task, however, having a good knowledge of your system is always a recommended practice for a good number of reasons including installing and running the appropriate packages for your Linux version, for easy reporting of bugs coupled with many more.

With that said, let us proceed to how you can figure out information about your Linux distribution.

Find Out Linux Kernel Version

We will use uname command, which is used to print your Linux system information such as kernel version and release name, network hostname, machine hardware name, processor architecture, hardware platform and the operating system.

To find out which version of Linux kernel you are running, type:

Shows Current Linux Kernel Version Running on System

In the preceding command, the option -o prints operating system name and -r prints the kernel release version.

You can also use -a option with uname command to print all system information as shown:

Shows Linux System Information

Next, we will use /proc file system, that stores information about processes and other system information, it’s mapped to /proc and mounted at boot time.

Simply type the command below to display some of your system information including the Linux kernel version:

Shows Linux System Information

From the image above, you have the following information:

  1. Version of the Linux (kernel) you are running: Linux version 4.5.5-300.fc24.x86_64
  2. Name of the user who compiled your kernel: [email protected]
  3. Version of the GCC compiler used for building the kernel: gcc version 6.1.1 20160510
  4. Type of the kernel: #1 SMP (Symmetric MultiProcessing kernel) it supports systems with multiple CPUs or multiple CPU cores.
  5. Date and time when the kernel was built: Thu May 19 13:05:32 UTC 2016
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Find Out Linux Distribution Name and Release Version

The best way to determine a Linux distribution name and release version information is using cat /etc/os-release command, which works on almost all Linux system.

Find Linux Distribution Name and Release Version

In this article, we walked through a brief and simple guide intended to help new Linux user find out the Linux version they are running and also get to know their Linux distribution name and version from the shell prompt.

Perhaps it can also be useful to advanced users on one or two occasions. Lastly, to reach us for any assistance or suggestions you wish to offer, make use of the feedback form below.

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How do I find out what version of Linux I’m running?

Is there a way to determine what version (distribution & kernel version, I suppose) of Linux is running (from the command-line), that works on any Linux system?

9 Answers 9

The kernel is universally detected with uname :

There really isn’t a cross-distribution way to determine what distribution and version you’re on. There have been attempts to make this consistent, but ultimately it varies, unfortunately. LSB tools provide this information, but ironically aren’t installed by default everywhere. Example on an Ubuntu 9.04 system with the lsb-release package installed:

Otherwise, the closest widely-available method is checking /etc/something-release files. These exist on most of the common platforms, and on their derivatives (i.e., Red Hat and CentOS).

Here are some examples.

Ubuntu has /etc/lsb-release :

But Debian has /etc/debian_version :

Fedora, Red Hat and CentOS have:

I don’t have a SUSE system available at the moment, but I believe it is /etc/SuSE-release .

Slackware has /etc/slackware-release and/or /etc/slackware-version .

Mandriva has /etc/mandriva-release .

For most of the popular distributions then,

will most often work. Stripped down and barebones «server» installations might not have the ‘release’ package for the distribution installed.

Additionally, two 3rd party programs you can use to automatically get this information are Ohai and Facter.

Note that many distributions have this kind of information in /etc/issue or /etc/motd , but some security policies and best practices indicate that these files should contain access notification banners.


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