What linux do i have? Tricks to know everything about your distro

Using Linux is not the same as using Windows or macOS. While Microsoft and Apple operating systems have a very limited number of versions and editions, within the Linux ecosystem we can find a large number of distributions, each based on others and with a specific version of the Kernel. This can make users who are not very knowledgeable within this operating system look somewhat lost and have trouble knowing exactly which Linux they are using.

The normal thing is that, if we have installed a Linux distro, we know which one we have installed. We should even know which version of it we use. However, if we usually practice distro-hopping (constant change of distro) or it has been someone else who has started our PC, we may not know what Linux we are using.

If we need to obtain information about the type of Linux we are using, then we leave you a series of tricks with which we can find out everything possible about our Linux distro.

Consult the “About” section of the Linux distro

All distros that have a graphical interface will have, on one side or the other, an information panel about the distro itself. In the case of Ubuntu, for example, this panel can be found within the System Configuration panel. And in it we will be able to see basic information about our PC (hardware, processor, graphics, etc.), as well as the version of Ubuntu used, desktop version, window manager, etc.

If we prefer, we can also use different terminal commands that allow us to obtain much more detailed information about our distro.

Linux commands to find out which distro we use

The first thing we will have to do to obtain this information is to open a terminal in our distro using the keyboard shortcut Control + Shift + T (or the keyboard shortcut that we have configured) and execute the following commands:

cat /etc/*-release

This command will allow us to obtain information about the specific distribution that we are using, both the name and the version and its codename.

lsb_release -a

This command will show us practically the same as the previous command, but in a much more reduced and specific way. At the end it can be used as a summary of the first.


This command allows us to go a little further. Instead of focusing on the distro we use, it allows us to see other related information, such as the machine ID, the network name and even the version of the Linux Kernel that we have installed.

uname -a

This is a very useful command as well. With it we can see a line of information about our Linux system, although the most interesting thing is the Kernel used.

Programs to find out information about distribution

If the previous commands do not work for us (they are not compatible with 100% of the distros), or they do not provide us with all the information we need, we can also resort to other similar programs that allow us to obtain more information about our Linux distro.


One of the favorites by users is  neofetch . This program, when executed, shows us on the screen a summary of everything related to our Linux software, from the operating system to the version of the distro, Kernel, desktop, theme and icons … everything we may need. We will also see a summary about the hardware of our PC.

It is not installed by default, so we will have to install it in order to use it with the following command:

sudo apt install neofetch


Very similar to neofetch we can find another program called  screenfetch . The purpose of this program is the same, and the information it returns is practically identical. The main difference is how they use ASCII to show the type of Linux distro that we have installed on our PC.

We must install this program manually by executing:

sudo apt install screenfetch


And another program quite similar to the previous ones is Archey4. This program is, broadly speaking, similar to the previous two, but with the peculiarity that it can read the sensors of our PC, so we will also be able to obtain the temperature of the PC and other lower-level information.

This program is not in the repositories, so we will have to download and install it manually from its GitHub page .


And if we want to do it from a program with a graphical interface, we can use very complete tools such as hardinfo. This program would be the equivalent of AIDA64 on Windows operating systems, but totally free and open source. With it we will be able to obtain a much more complete and easy-to-interpret report from our PC. We can find out everything about the distro we use or the Linux Kernel we have installed. We can also obtain information about the hardware of our PC.

This program must also be installed manually on the distro using the following command:

sudo apt install hardinfo


Another program that we can use to analyze the PC and obtain all the information about it is Sysinfo. This is a very simple tool, almost the same as the system monitor that is installed by default in practically all distros, so we will not be able to obtain very detailed information. But to get general information about the PC is more than enough.

This program is for many a light and minimalist alternative to obtain system information, ideal especially for older computers.

We can install it with the following command:

sudo apt install sysinfo

How to save Linux version information for later

We have already obtained what we wanted: to know what Linux we are using. However, unless we have a very good memory, it is easy for us to forget some detail, from the distro we are using to the kernel version or other information that may be useful to us.

Although we can always go back to these programs to get this information back, this is impractical. Therefore, a much more practical trick to find out which version of Linux we are using is to take a screenshot.

Linux distributions come standard with capture programs. Simply by pressing the Print Screen key on the computer we can save an image with this information. Once saved, we can upload it to the cloud (to Google Drive, for example) so that, when we need some information, we can get it even without being in front of the PC.

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