Introduction

Ubuntu is a free, open-source Linux-based operating system, which has a long list of release versions. Finding out which Ubuntu version is running on your system can be important when troubleshooting issues or searching for installation guides.

In this tutorial, learn how to check the Ubuntu version running on your machine.

tutorial on how to check ubuntu version

Prerequisites

  • A system running Ubuntu
  • Access to a user account with sudo or root privileges
  • A terminal window/command line (CtrlAltT)

There are two (2) simple ways to determine the Ubuntu version installed on your server. Check the version in the terminal window or use Ubuntu’s default graphical interface.

How to Check Ubuntu Version in Terminal

If you prefer using the terminal, you can determine the Ubuntu version installed on your machine in three (3) different ways.

Check Ubuntu Version with lsb_release –a Command

  1. Open the terminal (use the Ctrl+Alt+keyboard shortcut).
  2. Type in the following command and hit Enter:
lsb_release –a

screenshot of checking ubuntu version from terminal

The output displays the current version of Ubuntu. In the example seen in the image above, it is Ubuntu 18.04 (codenamed Bionic Beaver).

Check Ubuntu Version with cat /etc/lsb-release Command

Alternatively, you can use the command:

cat /etc/lsb-release

cat /etc/lsb/release

Check Ubuntu Version with cat /etc/*release Command

To get more in-depth information about the Ubuntu release, you can also use the command:

cat /etc/*release

find information about ubuntu release

Check Ubuntu Version with hostnemctl Command

Another command that also gives you information about the Ubuntu version is the hostname command:

hotnamectl

Check Ubuntu version using hostnamectl command.

Check Ubuntu Version from Graphical Interface

You can quickly identify the Ubuntu version running on your system through the graphical interface.

1. First, select Activities in the top left corner.

2. In the search bar, enter Settings and click on the icon once it appears in the results.

find settings in ubuntu

3. In the System Settings window, click on the Details tab.

system settings details of Ubuntu

The Details section displays which Ubuntu version number you have, along with other information about your operating system.

ubuntu version details 18.04

The image above indicates that the system running on the machine is Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (codenamed Bionic Beaver). LTS is an acronym that stands for Long-Term Support, meaning it’s a major version supported for up to 10 years.

Other Ubuntu LTS releases include:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa)

  • Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) which has an end of life in April 2021

  • Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr)

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should know how to check which Ubuntu version you are running. Next, explore or even update the central core of the operating system, the Linux kernel.


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