How to check Linux / Unix distribution version

Today my boss ask me install a tomcat in linux machine. After i ssh into that machine, i wonder what is the Linux distribution version? Red Hat? Ubuntu? Fedora? Debian?

However with a simple command, i can check what is linux distribution version

mymachine:~# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.18-5-686-bigmem (Debian 2.6.18.dfsg.1-13etch3) ( 
(gcc version 4.1.2 20061115 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.1-21)) 
#1 SMP Wed Sep 26 19:03:46 UTC 2007

I’m using Debian Linux version 2.6.18-5-686-bigmem

cat /proc/version
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  • koushik Sarkar

    uname -v can be used to display Linux / Unix Distribution Version.

  • takizo

    You can also do cat /etc/*-release

    • mkyong

      Thanks for sharing your tip.

    • AndyR

      This has the benefit of reporting the distribution in use rather than the kernel – useful in a chroot.

      In a CentOS 5 chroot under Debian (using schroot to bind mount /proc in chroot) :

      /proc/version = Linux version 2.6.32-5-amd64 (Debian 2.6.32-31) ([email protected])
      (gcc version 4.3.5 (Debian 4.3.5-4) ) #1 SMP Mon Mar 7 21:35:22 UTC 2011

      /etc/redhat-release = CentOS release 5.5 (Final)

      • mkyong

        Thanks for your add-on

  • Henk

    cat /boot/grub/menu.lst

    will work on most machines as well (that is: those who feature grub)

    • mkyong

      thank for the tips ~

  • Bappy

    It;s very important for me & it’s working….


    • Loxas

      Moron :-D