I want to create random unique numbers (UUIDs) as the following


First I tried this

$ rndnum=` echo $RANDOM"-"echo $RANDOM"-"echo $RANDOM"-"echo $RANDOM"-"echo $RANDOM`

$ echo $rndnum
30380-echo 21875-echo 14791-echo 32193-echo 11503

What is the right way to create the following (where f is any number)?

  • 5
    Random numbers are not necessarily unique.
    – JdeBP
    Feb 14, 2019 at 9:39
  • yes , seems , this number is from presto configuration ( prestodb.github.io/docs/current/installation/deployment.html )
    – yael
    Feb 14, 2019 at 9:41
  • 11
    Note that UUIDs are not just random numbers stringed together.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 14, 2019 at 9:44
  • 9
    I've spent too many hours debugging scripts which assume "unlikely" is the same as "won't happen". If this is supposed to be a UUID then please do use an actual UUID, there are strict constraints on the way they are generated. If you could elaborate the reason you need this we might be able to help more. Feb 14, 2019 at 9:51

4 Answers 4


On Linux, the util-linux/util-linux-ng package offers a command to generate UUIDs: uuidgen.

$ uuidgen

To quote the manual:

The uuidgen program creates (and prints) a new universally unique identifier (UUID) using the libuuid(3) library. The new UUID can reasonably be considered unique among all UUIDs created on the local system, and among UUIDs created on other systems in the past and in the future.

There are two types of UUIDs which uuidgen can generate: time-based UUIDs and random-based UUIDs. By default uuidgen will generate a random-based UUID if a high-quality random number generator is present. Otherwise, it will choose a time-based UUID. It is possible to force the generation of one of these two UUID types by using the -r or -t options.

Addendum: The OP had provided a link in the comments to the documentation for Presto DB. After a bit of searching, I found this related discussion where it is explicitly mentioned that the node.id property is indeed a UUID.

Adding the information provided by frostschutz in a comment:

As an alternative to the uuidgen/libuuid approach, you can make use of an interface exposed by the Linux kernel itself to generate UUIDs:

$ cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid

The UUID is re-generated on each request.

  • 2
    The final touch would be printf 'node.id=%s\n' "$( uuidgen )"
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 14, 2019 at 10:28
  • well done , this is very good answer
    – yael
    Feb 14, 2019 at 10:55
  • 26
    possible fallback if uuidgen is unavailable: cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid Feb 14, 2019 at 10:59
  • 2
    @frostschutz that's much better -- that should've been the answer
    – user313992
    Feb 14, 2019 at 13:05
  • @frostschutz I have added the information on this kernel interface to my answer. Thank you.
    – Haxiel
    Feb 14, 2019 at 13:32

As @frostschutz mentioned, you can use a dependency-free solution:

cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid

or save variable

UUID=$(cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid)

In Bash you could simplify to:

UUID=$(< /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid)

On a raspberry PI, and probably others, the command is simply:


It should be preinstalled, but if not, this should do it: sudo apt install uuid

  • 1
    I think you perhaps mean Raspberry PI OS (AKA Raspbian). Remember that a Raspberry Pi can run many different operating systems. Dec 18, 2020 at 14:02

Below is bash script to generate UUID version 4 according to RFC 4122.

UUID version 4 means it is based on Truly Random or Pseudo-Random Numbers.

#! /bin/bash

printf "%04x%04x-%04x-%04x-%04x-%04x%04x%04x\n" \
$(($RANDOM & 0x0fff | 0x4000)) \
$(($RANDOM & 0x3fff | 0x8000)) \

$(($RANDOM & 0x0fff | 0x4000)) - replaces the left four random bits with 0100 as defined by parts 4.4 and 4.1.3 of RFC.

$(($RANDOM & 0x3fff | 0x8000)) - replaces the left two random bits with 10 as defined by part 4.4 of RFC.

  • I have to assume you did not read any of the answers where it is documented that a UUID is not a set of random numbers strung together and that give pointers to interfaces specifically designed to generate unique UUIDs.
    – doneal24
    Jul 25, 2022 at 15:50
  • You are right. I adjusted script to fix problem.
    – Pavel_H
    Jul 25, 2022 at 18:58
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Jul 31, 2022 at 8:08
  • @mashuptwice I have checked once more and don't see any mistakes. I also added bit operations explanations. Furthermore I looked into source code of libuuid and they use identical operations: github.com/util-linux/util-linux/blob/… If you still see a problem please say what exactly is wrong.
    – Pavel_H
    Jul 31, 2022 at 14:52

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