Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Today, I bought a Ubuntu 12.04 VPS from, but when I access it via SSH, I can't use apt-get.

[root@vps /]# apt-get install python-software-properties
-bash: apt-get: command not found

edit: For some reason, it can't find lsb-release

[root@vps /]# cat /etc/lsb-release
cat: /etc/lsb-release: No such file or directory
share|improve this question
Are you sure you chose Ubuntu? just for fun: try yum search python to see if yum is installed. – Frederik Nielsen Aug 27 '12 at 20:33
And even if you chose Ubuntu, a different system may have been provisioned (default seems to be CentOS). Type cat /etc/lsb-release to check out. – petrus Aug 27 '12 at 20:36
@petrus I already tried that. [root@vps /]# cat /etc/lsb-release cat: /etc/lsb-release: No such file or directory – tehtros Aug 27 '12 at 20:37
What is the contents of /boot? – Zoredache Aug 27 '12 at 20:42
lsb-release doesn't exist on several of my systems, though others do. Try cat /etc/*-release. – Michael Hampton Aug 27 '12 at 20:53
up vote 4 down vote accepted

From your shell prompt, it appears you have CentOS or some other Red Hat-derived distribution rather than the Ubuntu you were expecting.

You can confirm this by running:

cat /etc/*-release

and inspecting the output.

share|improve this answer
Downvoting the questioner's actual answer without explanation is not a nice thing to do. – Michael Hampton Aug 27 '12 at 22:01

When you login you should run :

cat /etc/issue

Does that show the operating system? If not I'd drop a mail to your providers support address - it is possible they just gave you the wrong distribution.

share|improve this answer

You might want to try to run the command lsb_release, because that is the one that is defined in the standard, not where its information is saved.

"lsb_release -a" should give you more information than you ever wanted about your system. On my dedicated server I get this:

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS
Release:        12.04
Codename:       precise

I've use that command both on Ubuntu (version 8.04 through 12.04) and Redhat ES/AS 4-6.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.