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How do I find out what version of Linux is running?

This happens sometimes: I ssh into a machine but I forgot (or never knew) what linux distribution it's running.

How can I find out? I'd like a general way to at least solve this problem for the more popular distributions - I don't mind if it involves several steps, but one single command would be ideal :)

marked as duplicate by jldugger, Zoredache, mrdenny Sep 26 '09 at 2:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • A duplicate of 3331. Lots of helpful stuff there for you. – jldugger Sep 25 '09 at 20:02

"cat /etc/issue" will show the distribution on most platforms, unless someone has modified it.

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