This question already has an answer here:

I normally use uname to determine which OS is running, but I have accounts on several machines where I don't know the particular distribution that is running.

When uname returns Linux, I tried uname -a and I see only the following:

 Linux host123 3.0.58-0.6.6-pae blah blah blah i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

My guess is this is a SUSE distribution, but is there a better way to know which distribution is installed similar to how uname normally shows AIX, Darwin, etc...?

marked as duplicate by manatwork, Anthon, slm, Hauke Laging, terdon Jun 28 '13 at 20:05

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • @manatwork Once I asked this, I did find the linked question, but I really don't care about the version number details and wanted a simple, clear next step tool to break down what Linux means when uname reports it. The other long scripting questions didn't hit any of my search terms so I figured I'd document what I found for others to find. – bmike Jun 28 '13 at 16:27

Once you get Linux from uname you can run (or check for the existence of) lsb_release and run it with the -si switch if you just want the Distributor ID:

 user@host123:~> lsb_release -si

Similarly, both uname -a and lsb_release -a give more detailed build information. Alternatively, cat /etc/issue gives fairly reliable information on the distribution of Linux.

  • Thanks for posting your answer, however, this is the same answer as given in the accepted one of the duplicate question, which is why your question was closed. – terdon Jun 28 '13 at 20:07
  • No worries - I'm quite familiar with moderation on the SE network even if I don't come by this section of it often. Thanks for making sure I knew what was up :-) – bmike Jun 28 '13 at 20:51
  • Ah, yes, just checked your profile :). – terdon Jun 28 '13 at 20:54
  • Also, once I finally found out about lsb_release, I figured you'd all dupe this with unix.stackexchange.com/questions/31170/… or unix.stackexchange.com/questions/35183/… but in the end - it's all good since the index is so great at searching closed questions. – bmike Jun 28 '13 at 20:55

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