How to Find Your Linux Distribution Name and Version

Linux Distribution Name Featured

If you have just inherited a computer that is running Linux, you will want to know which Linux distribution and version is running on it. The previous owner might have customized it heavily, like coating it with a macOS theme. That makes it not easy to find out the distribution’s name and version from the desktop. Luckily, there are a few ways to find this information from the Terminal. Check them out.

How to Find Out Which Linux Distribution You Are Using

To get started, open a terminal. You can open it with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + T or find it from the Applications menu. Once opened, type the following command:

cat /etc/*-release

You will see all the information about your Linux distribution. In the example, Manjaro Linux, the 19.0.2 version, is being used, with the codename “Kyria.”

Manjaro Terminal Info

On a Ubuntu machine, this is what you will see:

Ubuntu Terminal Info

Alternatively, you can use the lsb_release command. Type the following:

lsb_release -a

and you will see information about the distribution.

Lsb Release Screenshot

For Ubuntu:

Lsb Release Ubuntu

Lastly, if you need a simplified view together with the kernel information, you can use the hostnamectl command:


It will display the operating system (which is the distribution name) and the kernel information.

Hostnamectl Information

And for Ubuntu:

Hostnamectl Ubuntu Information

That’s it. If you are looking to switch the Linux distribution in your computer, you may want to find out the best Linux distro in 2020or the best one for a beginner.

Image credit: Isolated laptop by DepositPhotos


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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