How to Check Linux Version

In the following segment, I outline a couple of methods you can use to check Linux version of your OS by using commands from an open terminal. These processes should work for the most common Linux operating systems. If you know of or find another method that works better, please let me know and I will update this post to include them.

Check Linux Version

Reasons to use a Version Linux Command

Checking the Linux version of your Operating System can be helpful for various reasons, including:

  • Compatibility and Support - Certain packages may have specific requirements or might only be compatible with certain Linux versions. By finding your Linux version, you can ensure that you are installing software that is compatible with your particular operating system.
  • Updates and Patches - Different Linux distributions and versions receive updates, security patches, and bug fixes at different frequencies. Knowing your Linux kernel version helps you stay informed about the latest updates and ensures that your system remains secure and up-to-date.
  • Documentation and Troubleshooting - When seeking help online or consulting documentation, getting your Linux version allows you to find relevant information tailored to your specific system, which can make troubleshooting and solving issues easier.
  • Software Installation - Some software applications have different installation procedures based on the Linux distribution or version. Having your Linux OS version handy helps you follow the correct installation instructions.
  • System Requirements - If you are planning to install Linux on a new machine or in a virtual environment, understanding the operating system requirements of your chosen Linux distribution helps ensure that your hardware meets the necessary specifications.
  • Hardware Compatibility - Certain hardware components may have better support or require specific drivers for different Linux versions. Checking your Linux version can help you determine if your hardware is fully compatible with your current setup.
  • Licensing and Usage Terms - Some Linux distributions have different licensing models, and it's essential to know the specific terms and conditions that apply to your version.
  • Learning and Curiosity - For personal knowledge and curiosity, obtaining the Linux version can be useful in understanding the evolution of the operating system and keeping track of the latest advancements.

Finding your Linux version can be beneficial for performing updates, troubleshooting issues, and making informed decisions about software installation for optimal hardware compatibility. It helps you maintain a stable and secure system while being well-informed about the specifics of your operating environment.

Checking your Linux Version

To check the version of your Linux operating system from the terminal, you can usually use either the lsb_release or cat commands. lsb_release is generally the simplest and most dependable, so I'll start with it.

1.) First, open a terminal or command prompt on your running Linux system.

Using lsb_release command to check Linux Version

lsb_release can be used to check Linux kernel version from Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Mageia.

Type the following command and then press Enter:

lsb_release -a

This command should display detailed information about the Linux distribution, including its release version, codename, and more.

Using the cat command to get OS version from /etc/os-release file

You can get Linux kernel version using the cat command from Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, Red Hat, openSUSE, Arch, Manjaro, Gentoo, Mageia, elementary OS, Mint, Alpine, and Oracle.

Type the following command from the terminal and press Enter:

cat /etc/os-release

This should display the contents of the /etc/os-release file, which contains information about the Linux distribution, including its name, version, and ID.

Check RedHat, CentOS, or Fedora Version

You can use the following command to get the version for Red Hat, CentOS, or Fedora-based distributions:

cat /etc/redhat-release

Get Ubuntu Version

To find the version for your Ubuntu or Debian based distribution, you can type this from the command line:

cat /etc/debian_version

Keep in mind that the availability of these version Linux commands and files may vary depending on your exact distribution. Again, the first method using lsb_release is generally the most reliable way to obtain Linux version information and should work with most Linux distributions.