How to Determine the Linux Distribution

Linux is a very customisable UNIX like operating system. To date, there are more than a couple of dozen Linux distributions available, based on this Wikipedia list.

To determine the Linux distribution you are running, there are usually a few files you can look for.If there’s a /etc/redhat-release file found in your Linux distribution, it’s possibly from RedHat. Likewise, you can find a /etc/SuSE-release file in SUSE Linux distributions.

Determining the Linux distribution from such distribution specific files is not really a good idea. There’s got to be a better way, don’t you think? Thanks to Linux Standard Base (LSB) – a joint project by a number of Linux vendors to standardize the OS, there is a much easier way to determine the Linux distribution.

Most of the popular Linux distributions such as Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian are now LSB compatible. To determine the Linux distribution, you can use the lsb_release command.

ibrahim@anfield:~$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (etch)
Release:        4.0
Codename:       etch

ibrahim = { interested_in(unix, linux, android, open_source, reverse_engineering); coding(c, shell, php, python, java, javascript, nodejs, react); plays_on(xbox, ps4); linux_desktop_user(true); }