Protip August: Quickly Determine Linux System Info

If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you are looking at a foreign Linux OS you know how handy it is to know exactly what type of system you are dealing with.  Practically all modern flavors of Linux offer the following commands to quickly determine important information about a particular system.

lsb_release -a

This command is handy for obvious reasons.  It quickly tells you what OS version you are looking at.  As you can see it looks like my OS is a little bit out of date. :)

uname -a

This one is handy for quickly obtaining kernel information as well as generic OS info (OS, platform, etc).

Update (11/1/12)

I just found another way to gather the OS version quickly from the command line using the venerable cat command.  The syntax for the command is as follows.

cat /etc/issue

Sweet!  This is handy if you are only concerned with looking up the OS and version you are working.


Josh Reichardt

Josh is the creator of this blog, a system administrator and a contributor to other technology communities such as /r/sysadmin and Ops School. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.