Check Ubuntu Version - Quick & Simple

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to Check Ubuntu Version by using the command line or the Ubuntu Desktop GUI. There are several ways of checking your Ubuntu version and we cover all of them in this article.

Table of Contents

Method 1 - The os-release File

We can read the os-release file located in /etc/ using the cat command to find out which Ubuntu version we are running:

cat /etc/os-release
Code language: Bash (bash)

Output:

Check Ubuntu Version Method 1

Method 2 - The lsb_release File

We can also read the lsb-release file located in the /etc/ folder to check Ubuntu versions:

cat /etc/lsb-release
Code language: Bash (bash)

Output:

Check Ubuntu Version Method 2

Method 3 - The issue File

Another file we can check to figure out which Ubuntu version we are running is the issue file located in the /etc/ folder:

cat /etc/issue

Output:

Check Ubuntu Version Method 3

Method 4 - The lsb_release Command

Another way is by using the built-in lsb_release command:

lsb_release -a

Note: This might not work on WSL 2.

Output:

No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS Release: 20.04 Codename: focal
Code language: plaintext (plaintext)

Less Information

You can also use the -d flag to shorten the output:

lsb_release -d
Code language: Bash (bash)

Output:

Description: Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS
Code language: plaintext (plaintext)

Method 5 - The hostnamectl Command

We can also use the hostnamectl command to check our Ubuntu version:

hostnamectl
Code language: Bash (bash)

Note: This might not work on WSL 2.

Output:

Static hostname: ceos3c-ubuntu Icon name: Virtual Machine Chassis: Machine ID: Boot ID: Operating System Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS Kernel: Architecture: x86-64
Code language: CSS (css)

Method 5 - Check Ubuntu Version with GUI

If you are uncomfortable using the command line, you can also check your Ubuntu version inside of the Ubuntu GUI:

  1. Click on the Show Applications button in the lower-left corner.
  2. Click on Settings (type settings in the search bar if you can't find it).
  3. Select About from the left navigation menu and scroll down until you find the OS Name field.

Summary

This is how easy it is to check Ubuntu versions. To summarize:

  1. You can read the os_release file.
  2. You can read the lsb_release file.
  3. You can read the issue file.
  4. You can use the lsb_release command with either the -a or the -d flag.
  5. You can use the hostnamectl command.

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