How-To Geek

How to Tell What Version of Ubuntu You Are Running

Telling what version of Ubuntu you are running is extremely easy. You would commonly use this command to figure out if you are running Edgy after you upgraded from Dapper.

cat /etc/issue

Ubuntu edgy (development branch)

Note that the version numbers might change over time. I’m running the beta version so that’s what shows up when I run that command. Either way, it should be clear that you are running Edgy.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/19/06

Comments (28)

  1. John Kraft

    I think that the file /etc/lsb-release should be more reliable

  2. It's me

    I agree w/ John — you don’t really know what “issue” is used for, do you?

    I suggest you RTFM by: “man issue motd”

    The more paranoid you get, the less hints you give to non-authenticated users, y’know?

  3. The Geek

    You are correct, lsb-release is a better option for ubuntu, but in my experience /etc/issue works across most linux varieties.

  4. Jaymes

    uname ?

  5. The Geek

    uname really just prints information about the kernel version… and while much more useful, is not the same as the version of the OS.

    For instance, uname -a on my dev server:

    Linux superfast 2.6.17-10-server #2 SMP Tue Dec 5 22:29:32 UTC 2006 i686 GNU/Linux

    No mention of Ubuntu in there.

  6. Vulcan

    $ uname

  7. MeduZa

    I use: lsb_release in this way:

    $ lsb_release -d -s -c

    uname tell you the kernel vercion only not the distribution information

  8. jeevan

    command for to know the version of the ubuntu now i am working

  9. Brad Goetsch

    Thanks, this was very useful today.

  10. zevera

    yea command tells you that about the running version.

  11. mahrizal

    thank you it works for me

  12. laringo

    The answer to my question:

    … then the folder of the language your Ubuntu uses
    … then open the file about-ubuntu.xml

  13. laringo

    The default help page (in English of the USA I think):

    This one cannot be opened with firefox but yes with gedit (it’s a template with variables).

  14. HenryD

    Alright, you guys are all way ahead of me… can’t make head or tail of much of this (my fault I’m sure not yours!) I’m just on this forum because I can’t decipher which type of Audacity I should download for my (Ubuntu) Dell Netbook. i don’t know what version of Ubuntu I am and certainly don’t recognise which Audacity version would be suitable. How EXACTLY do I find out the former to start trying to understand the latter? Where do I click on my desktop? All help much, much appreciated,

  15. Gary

    HenryD Assuming you have a standard gnome desktop click top left on applications then accessories then terminal. In the terminal type or copy and paste the exact words or characters and then hit enter. For the version number I would type lsb_release -a

    To quickly install the recommended audacity using the terminal type sudo apt-get install audacity then enter, then you probably will have to type your ubuntu login password and enter. To generally install and search for stuff I use Synaptic package manager which is under System – administration menu, or you could try the ubuntu software centre which may be easier if your new to this.

  16. Yes927

    Another way:
    a) From the web browser’s address bar: ghelp:about-ubuntu
    b) From the run dialog (Alt + F2): gnome-help ghelp:about-ubuntu

    Both of them have the same effect as using the Main menu->System->About Ubuntu:

    They open the “Display application and GNOME system help” in a page giving the same information as (in the language in which you are using Ubuntu).

  17. Mariuhd

    To know if the installed Ubuntu is of 32 or 64 bits:
    uname -m
    If it shows i686 or i386 it means 32 bits.
    If it shows x86_64 it means 64 bits.

    If the CPU is of 32 bits Ubuntu must be of 32 bits.
    If the CPU is of 64 bits it can work in 64 or 32 bits. So we can choose: Ubuntu can be of 32 bits or of 64 bits.

    To know if the CPU is of 32 or 64 bits:
    a) grep -w lm /proc/cpuinfo
    If we see lm in red is of 64 bits. Otherwise is of 32 bits.
    b) sudo lshw | grep “description: CPU” -A 12 | grep width
    It says clearly what we want to know.

  18. Mariuhd

    Another way to know if the installed Ubuntu is of 32 or 64 bits:
    getconf LONG_BIT

  19. Ombongi Moraa FAITH

    f you type in at the system console or at the terminal console
    uname -v, you get the kernel version.

    to get all the uses of uname, type
    uname –help;

  20. Ombongi Moraa FAITH


    uname -v (this prints kernel version)

    or type uname –help to get a complete list of uname commands

  21. Ricardo

    or just type : volname

  22. Poppy

    Thank you Mariuhd. I wanted to double check and make sure I wasn’t running in a 32 bit OS. Your instructions really helped me:

    uname -m
    If it shows i686 or i386 it means 32 bits.
    If it shows x86_64 it means 64 bits.

  23. Mariuhd

    Not at all.

    In the command:
    sudo lshw | grep “description: CPU” -A 12 | grep width
    the quotation marks have to be vertical (straight), not typographic (curly). I put them straight but they become curly here. Just replace them.

  24. Mariuhd

    I hope the quotation marks to be vertical this time (I’m using the HTML code for them: ampersand number sign 34 semicolon):
    sudo lshw | grep "description: CPU" -A 12 | grep width

  25. Edai


    volname (a few comments above) has nothing to do with this. Please if you could delete that comment (and this one).

  26. Mahmoud

    Fine command thnks alot

  27. Chris Catignani

    You can also get it by clicking:

    Applications–>System Monitor [Application Tab]

    It give the vs and kernal….and more.

  28. Chris Catignani


    I meant:

    Applications–>System Monitor [Systems Tab]

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