Using SSH, we can find the Linux version using two simple commands.

Want the cheatsheet version? Cheatsheet Linux Commands: uname

If you’re like me, you often have to SSH into lots of servers to help manage your clients and customers with their sites. Sometimes, it’s important to know what version of Linux they are using so you can quickly figure out how to best access their system, perform updates/upgrades, download software/packages etc.

Using the SSH terminal, try the following uname -a command:

uname -a


Linux 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2+deb7u2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

This command tells you all the information about the server you’re running. Using the -a option, it will output all available information in the following order:

hardware platform
operating system

There are other commands also that can help you obtain specific information:

Command Information
uname –help Returns the help manual for the uname command, including all available options.
uname -a Prints all information for the server/system you’re on.
uname -s Prints the kernel name
uname -n Prints the node name
uname -r Prints the kernel release data
uname -v Prints the kernel version data
uname -m Prints the machine data
uname -p Prints the processor information
uname -i Prints the platform hardware information
uname -o Prints the operating system information

Sometimes using uname -a isn’t enough. You might need to know the exact linux distro. You can do that by using the lsb_release command:

lsb_release -a


No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 7.6 (wheezy)
Release: 7.6
Codename: wheezy

Now you can see what version of the linux distro you’re using and see if there are any upgrades/updates available for it.


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