How To – Find Out Your Ubuntu Version Name

This is just a quick tip, and something I tend to need to do because I’m a bit absentminded and have one of the worst short-term memories out there. The version names for Ubuntu sometimes escape me. Maybe it’s because they are referred to by cute little ‘codenames’ instead of version numbers. The difference between Dapper and Breezy and Edgy and Feisty isn’t exactly obvious. Which of those is newest?

Feisty will be released around the end of Spring 2007 (April I believe). So at the time of this writing, Edgy is the most current stable version to have. For many things in Ubuntu, particularly any time you are tinkering with adding repositories, you need to know your version. If nothing else, it can make you feel a little bit more like you know what’s going on if someone asks you and you actually know what your computer is running 😉

It’s easy enough to do.

1) Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
2) Type the following at the prompt:
cat /etc/lsb-release
3) It should output something similar to mine, which looks like this:

Not too hard to figure out that the line that says ‘DISTRIB_CODENAME’ is the one that tells you the name of your version. Fairly painless.


37 thoughts

  1. A better way of doing that that I found posted on a blog would be issuing the command, “lsb_release -a” because files can lie.. I had people posting to cat their /etc/issue when In my case I had already changed it. Hope this helps the greater good…

    Below is a real life example from my box..


    $ lsb_release -a
    No LSB modules are available.
    Distributor ID: Ubuntu
    Description: Ubuntu feisty (development branch)
    Release: 7.04
    Codename: feisty

  2. You wrote:

    The difference between Dapper and Breezy and Edgy and Feisty isn’t exactly obvious. Which of those is newest?

    Feisty, of course. Since Dapper, the Ubuntu names seem to have been going in alphabetical sequence: Dapper Drake, Edgy Eft, Feisty Fawn, Gutsy Gibbon (current as of this writing), Hardy Heron (next), and so on. I agree that it’s hard to keep the unalphabetized names straight, though.

  3. wouldn’t it be simpler to click on System/About Ubuntu?

    Not everyone is in a position to do so. If you are remotely connected via SSH or using a default ubuntu-server installation, you don’t have the option of System/About Ubuntu.

  4. ” Wouldn’t it be simpler to click System/About Ubuntu?”

    I upgraded to Intrepid, guess what, no version info! Look at the last line.

    System/About Ubuntu

    ” 5. Version and Release Numbers
    The Ubuntu version numbering scheme is based on the date we release a
    version of the distribution. The version number comes from the year and
    month of the release rather than reflecting the actual version of the
    Our first release (Warty Warthog) was in October 2004 so its version was
    4.10. This version () was released in so its version number is .”

    Always better to have more than one way of doing things.

  5. I upgraded/downgraded (depends on program version) from Debian/lenny to Ubuntu/intrepid (replaced /etc/apt/sources.lst and used aptitude update; aptitude dist-upgrade) (a lot I had to do by hand after that).
    There was still a wrong /etc/debian_version but no /etc/lsb_version but

    System/Info zu Ubuntu

    “Versions- und Freigabenummern
    * Ubuntu – Linux für Menschen!
    Die Nummerierung der Ubuntu-Versionen richtet sich nach dem Datum, an dem eine Version veröffentlicht wird. Die Nummer der Version entspricht dem Jahr und dem Monat der Veröffentlichung und sagt nichts über die tatsächliche Version der Software aus.
    Unsere erste Version (»Warty Warthog«) wurde im Oktober 2004 veröffentlicht, daher war die Versionsnummer 4.10. Diese Version (»Intrepid Ibex«) wurde im Oktober 2008 veröffentlicht und trägt somit die Versionsnummer 8.10.”

    did the job!

  6. Thank you!! Mine is intrepid, apparently. I wonder if that’s cool. lol (Apparently new to Linux)

  7. I was trying to update from 8.04 to 8.10 and I’m not sure that my update is complete (though the update manager says that it is complete) because when I check via the system-> about Ubuntu I get:

    “Our first release (Warty Warthog) was in October 2004 so its version was 4.10. This version () was released in so its version number is .”

    but when I check via the terminal it says that I do have 8.10. Is it possible that I don’t have a complete update or that just the help file doesn’t recognize the version that I have?

  8. This was very helpful. I thought their was a version file in /etc/ but it must have been on a diff version / distro.


  9. Thanks for explain the link between the release name and version. I am a newbee in Linux … Also got some useful tips to find out the release version. Thanks a lot.

  10. Another way, from 2 starting points:

    a) From the web browser’s address bar: ghelp:about-ubuntu
    b) From the run dialog (Alt + F2): gnome-help ghelp:about-ubuntu

    Both of them have the same effect as using the Main menu->System->About Ubuntu:

    They open the “Display application and GNOME system help” in a page giving the same information as (in the language in which you are using Ubuntu).

    My question is: in which folder of the filesystem is this help page stored?

  11. The answer to my question:

    … then the folder of the language your Ubuntu uses
    … then open the file about-ubuntu.xml

  12. The default help page (in English of the USA I think) is:

    This one cannot be opened with firefox but yes with gedit (it’s a template with variables).

  13. Main menu->System->About Ubuntu – is a solution only if you have graphical interface. I don’t.

    uname -a does not gives you the Ubuntu version, only kernel version.

    So, I think the best solutions are:
    cat /etc/lsb-release
    lsb_release -a
    cat /etc/issue

  14. guys, i have a question. i wanted to install skype however, they are asking about authentication, and there is a need to put a password. Do you guys have any idea where i can find it? thanks 🙂

  15. To know if the installed Ubuntu is of 32 or 64 bits:
    uname -m
    If it shows i686 or i386 it means 32 bits.
    If it shows x86_64 it means 64 bits.

    If the CPU is of 32 bits Ubuntu must be of 32 bits.
    If the CPU is of 64 bits it can work in 64 or 32 bits. So we can choose: Ubuntu can be of 32 bits or of 64 bits.

    To know if the CPU is of 32 or 64 bits:
    a) grep -w lm /proc/cpuinfo
    If we see lm in red is of 64 bits. Otherwise is of 32 bits.
    b) sudo lshw | grep “description: CPU” -A 12 | grep width
    It says clearly what we want to know.

  16. Another way to know if the installed Ubuntu is of 32 or 64 bits:
    getconf LONG_BIT

  17. volname??

    In the command …
    sudo lshw | grep “description: CPU” -A 12 | grep width
    … the quotation marks have to be vertical so it works.

    Probably they have been converted again in typographic ones. I hope they appear well now (I’m using the HTML code for them: ampersand number sign 34 semicolon):
    sudo lshw | grep "description: CPU" -A 12 | grep width

  18. On properly configured systems /etc/issue is usually replaced by a banner so as the author mentioned, cat /etc/lsb-release is the best way to find out version information for an Ubuntu system.

    uname -a will help you figure out what kernel you’re running as well as architecture and other details.

  19. Thanks. A command for both informations here:

    We can also run …
    … and have a look just to the first 2 lines of the output:
    “Architecture” informs about the installed Linux version: “i686” represents one of 32 bits, while “x86_64” stands for a 64 bits one.
    “CPU op-mode(s)” informs about the CPU. “32-bit” represents one of 32 bits, while “32-bit, 64-bit” or “64-bit” stands for a 64 bits one.

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