Dec 122015

Linux KernelDetermining the kernel version of your Linux system is easier than stuffing a large pizza slice into your mouth. Really! πŸ™‚

There are multiple commands you can use to find out the kernel version/release on your system.

Now you might wonder why we need to know the kernel version.

Determining the kernel version is useful for a variety of reasons including diagnosing system errors, upgrading the system and installing correct drivers.

Checking Kernel Version

In this post, we will explore four ways of determining the kernel release.

I have tested the below commands on CentOS 7, Ubuntu 15.04, Linux Mint 17.2, OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 and Mac OS X systems.

The first two commands work fine on all five systems and the last two on all Linux systems but not on Mac OS X.

1. uname -r

I ran the below command on a CentOS 7 Linux system.

$ uname -r

Let’s try to understand the output of uname -r in the above example:

3 – Kernel version
10 – Major revision
0 – Kernel patch version
229.20.1 – Custom kernel version from CentOS
el7 – Enterprise Linux 7
x86_64 – Processor Architecture for which Kernel is built

2. uname -a

With uname -a, we get more information including the name of the Linux distribution.

$ uname -a
Linux tommy-pc 3.16.0-38-generic #52~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Fri May 8 09:43:57 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

By the way, uname -r and uname -a work on Mac systems too.

3. cat /proc/version

Here’s another simple way to determine the kernel release of your Linux system.

$ cat /proc/version
Linux version 3.10.0-229.20.1.el7.x86_64 ( (gcc version 4.8.3 20140911 (Red Hat 4.8.3-9) (GCC) ) #1 SMP Tue Nov 3 19:10:07 UTC 2015

The above command and the following inxi command do not work on Mac OS X systems.

4. Inxi

Abother way of identifying the kernel version on your Linux system is through the extremely useful inxi tool.

Ubuntu and Linux Mint distributions now come with the inxi utility pre-installed.

CentOS and Red Hat users can install inxi via the EPEL repository.

If you’re running OpenSUSE Leap 42.1, grab inxi from the Packman repository.

In the below example, I have run inxi on a Linux Mint 17.2 system.

$ inxi -b
System: Host: tommy-pc Kernel: 3.16.0-38-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Cinnamon 2.6.13  Distro: Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela
Machine:   System: Dell product: OptiPlex 780
           Mobo: Dell model: 03NVJ6 version: A02 Bios: Dell version: A14 date: 08/21/2012
CPU:       Quad core Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9400 (-MCP-) clocked at 2660.096 MHz 
[output truncated]

You get more system information from inxi compared to other tools.

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