Given a distribution and its version, I can find which version of kernel it uses, e.g. for Ubuntu they are listed here, and for currently supported versions of Fedora they are here.

In general, however, I'm interested in a reverse lookup: given kernel version X I'd like to find which distros are still using X or older versions. Is there any easy way to do this, at least for the most popular distributions?

The use case of this is to decide whether I should bother supporting older Linux versions than version X in my software, if the newer one offers some feature I'd like to use.

1 Answer 1


So I'm not sure if you're looking to do this programmatically or not. But the first step you'd need to accomplish this is a database that catalogues all of this sort of information for each distribution and their respective releases.

Luckily… that is exactly what distrowatch.com is.

You can gather this information using their advanced search page, which has a cool feature that allows you to search for distribution releases that include a specific version of a package. In this case, you're interested in the linux package.

Searching for a specific version of that package (which corresponds to the kernel version) will give you a nice list of distributions followed by the releases of that distribution that ship with that package version.

I don't know of any DistroWatch API, so if you need to do this programmatically, you'll probably have to do some html parsing. But the format for the query to generate the results page for a given kernel version would be as follows:


Play around with that, and you might be able to get a nice little tool to do exactly what you're trying to do. If anyone knows of a better way to search DistroWatch's Database, please chime in. It'd be really nice, since they have such a treasure-trove of information.

  • 1
    Ah, I was looking at distrowatch, and even wanted to use that package search thing, but the Version: field appeared to blend with background, so I couldn't understand how to specify version at that attempt. Now thanks to your answer I see it :)
    – Ruslan
    Aug 29, 2015 at 9:18
  • 1
    I was looking for all distros with latest linux 4.16 or 4.17 (which comes with better net stack performance). Thanks!
    – develCuy
    Aug 7, 2018 at 4:47
  • Glad to hear it's still being of service!
    – CRThaze
    Aug 20, 2018 at 15:22

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