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The followings are the machine hardware names, processor types and hardware platforms returned by uname:

on a server (with some 64-bit Linux distribution)

-bash-4.1$ uname -m
x86_64
-bash-4.1$ uname -p
x86_64
-bash-4.1$ uname -i
x86_64

on my laptop (Thinkpad T400 with 32-bit Ubuntu 12.04)

$ uname -m
i686
$ uname -p
i686
$ uname -i
i386

I wonder if machine hardware name and processor type are always the same thing?

What is hardware platform? Why does it seem to indicate something about the OS?

Thanks!

1 Answer 1

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Hardware platform (uname -i) tells you what architecture the software was compiled for, typically 32-bit or 64-bit.

The uname -m tells you the architecture about the system itself, think motherboard here.

The uname -p tells you the architecture of the CPU.

What's the difference between system and CPU

I believe these 2 switches, -m and -p are what confuse people the most. It's possible to have a system that has one type of architecture (say 32-bit) but to utilize a CPU that offers a different architecture (64-bit).

This isn't that common and so in practice you'll typically see -m and -p showing up as offering the same architectures.

References

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  • 2
    In "Hardware platform (uname -i) tells you what architecture the software was compiled for, typically 32-bit or 64-bit.", by software do you mean the OS or the uname utility or something else?
    – Lavya
    Jun 11, 2015 at 14:22

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