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Often times I will ssh into a new client's box to make changes to their website configuration without knowing much about the server configuration. I have seen a few ways to get information about the system you're using, but are there some standard commands to tell me what version of Unix/Linux I'm on and basic system information (like if it is a 64-bit system or not), and that sort of thing?

Basically, if you just logged into a box and didn't know anything about it, what things would you check out and what commands would you use to do it?

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cat /etc/*release* works on most popular distros – Nathan McCoy Mar 31 '15 at 11:44
up vote 55 down vote accepted

If I need to know what it is say Linux/Unix , 32/64 bit

uname -a 

This would give me almost all information that I need,

If I further need to know what release it is say (Centos 5.4, or 5.5 or 5.6) on a Linux box I would further check the file /etc/issue to see its release info ( or for Debian / Ubuntu /etc/lsb-release )

Alternative way is to use the lsb_release utility:

lsb_release -a

Or do a rpm -qa | grep centos-release or redhat-release for RHEL derived systems

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Use the following commands to get more details:

  1. cat /etc/*release*
  2. uname -a
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You should look into the uname command.

I have to deal with a large parc of heterogenous machines. uname -a is usually my first reflex when I log in.

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Type in the command line:

uname -a

That'll give you all the information you seek.

Try also:

man uname to restrict the information

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Centos 5 using file in /etc/redhat-release

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