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Which version of the OS is this?

·343 words
Andy Jackson
Andy Jackson
Fighting entropy since 1993

I have access to a number of machine through work, and it’s sometimes hard to find adequate information about the operating systems that are installed on them. The first problem is finding out what version of what operating system they are using. Usually, the uname -a command is enough to work out what’s running on a UNIX machine, but sometimes (particularly with Linuxes) it does not provide quite enough info. This page contains a list examples for determining exactly what your working on.

RedHat Linux #

$ uname -a
Linux 2.4.21-47.ELsmp #1 SMP 
Wed Jul 5 20:38:41 EDT 2006 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
$ rpm -q redhat-release

So, we are running Red Hat Enterprise 3, with the AS/ES/WS/D suffix indicating the flavour as follows:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS — for high-end and mission-critical systems
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES — for small/mid-range servers
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS — for technical/design workstation clients
  • Red Hat Desktop — for secure, managed clients

It’s not clear if you can work out which RHEL Update is installed, at least without explicitly comparing version numbers of installed packages. The 13.8.3 bit should tell us, but I don’t know where to look it up.

Debian #

$ uname -a
Linux p15187550 2.6.16-rc6-060319a #1 SMP 
Sun Mar 19 16:28:15 CET 2006 i686 GNU/Linux
$ cat /etc/debian_version 

Also known as Sarge.

Mac OS X #

$ uname -a
Darwin stoat.local 8.7.0 Darwin Kernel Version 8.7.0: 
Fri May 26 15:20:53 PDT 2006; root:xnu-792.6.76.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC 
Power Macintosh powerpc
$ sw_vers 
ProductName:    Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.4.7
BuildVersion:   8J135

a.k.a. Tiger.

Solaris #

$ uname -a
SunOS frontend 5.9 Generic_112233-12 sun4u sparc SUNW,Sun-Fire-15000

In Sun-speak, this means we are running on Solaris 9. The leading digit in the version number got cast aside when SunOS was renamed Solaris, I think.


$ uname -a
AIX l1f401 3 5 00CD7EAF4C00
$ oslevel

This machine is running IBM’s AIX 5.3. As an aside, on AIX you can use the lslpp command to determine the versions of the installed software packages.