How to Find the Linux Version and Why It is Important?

As a beginner, you must know the version, kernel, and distribution of the Linux you are using. Firstly, it should be in your knowledge to get around the applications and useful command. Secondly, and most important is to get the necessary information regarding any threats that are released for certain distributions. In Linux, there are different distributions with different specifications. Sometimes a threat is disturbing only a few distributions and necessary precautions are released by the developer to tackle that issue. Now if you don’t know the version or distribution you might get affected without knowing it. Apart from the critical threats like this, you need to have all the necessary information to better control the OS and explore its full potential.

Before finding out the version first let’s find the two major types of Linux releases.

  • Rolling
  • Fixed

As the name is suggesting, rolling releases are being constantly upgraded and operated through one code branch. Rolling updates are released like a steady stream with numerous small updates. With the rolling release platforms, you are constantly up to date with the latest OS and version. One disadvantage that rolling release carry is instability. With the constant updates, the OS sometimes might show some fluctuations in the promise.

In fixed releases, you do not see regular updates but as long as the release is supported, security and other packages get upgraded. It may not be daily or weekly but whenever the update is ready the notification might pop out for your convenience. Now in fixed releases, you might not get the cutting-edge technology, but these releases offer the stability.

Command to find the kernel release:

  • Open the terminal window and type the following command

uname -r

Command to find the distribution:

  • Open the terminal window and type the following command.

lsb_release -a

Most of the distributions show their release numbers to facilitate the users.

Command to find the specific package release:

Open SSL has a vulnerability that affects only some of the releases. Now to be completely sure you must know what the current version of OpenSSL on the system is. The version depends on the distribution that you have chosen for your system.

For Debian distribution please run the following command.

dpkg -l openssl

If you are using Fedora which is rpm-based distribution use the following command.

rpm -qa | grep open ssl

These are the useful commands that will save you if you need any information regarding the kernel, distribution or package release versions.

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