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How to check your Ubuntu Version?

Ubuntu is a popular open-source operating system. It is used widely by Linux lovers, and Its Gnome desktop environment feature gives it a new edge to make it popular amongst other open-source systems.

When we open Ubuntu, a question comes to mind, what version of Ubuntu am I using? And then we start searching to know the version details.

In this article, we will learn to check the version of your current installed Ubuntu. These methods work on all versions of Ubuntu.

So, let's start by exploring the easiest and GUI method.

1. Check Ubuntu Version using Gnome Graphics UI

It is one of the simplest ways to check the version, just go to the top right corner of the desktop and click, and then select settings.

ubuntu settings in Gnome taskbar

  • After selecting settings, the following screen will be shown.
  • Scroll to the end and click on the about section in the left menu,
  • and it will show all the details of our Ubuntu system.

Ubuntu settings about system

If you don't see such menu or settings, you are maybe using a different desktop environment and not default Gnome.

2. Check Ubuntu Version using lsb_release command

The lsb_release command can be used to get the Linux Standard Base (LSB) of Ubuntu. It returns distribution information of the operating system.

lsb-release -a

Here, -a option is used to print all the information.

Check Ubuntu Version using with lsb-release command

If we want to get only single-line information containing system version, then use -d option with this command to output Version description only.

lsb-release -d

Check Ubuntu Version using with lsb-release -d command

3. Check Ubuntu Version using from /etc/os-release file

If you are using the latest version of Ubuntu 16 or higher, this method works for you.

The os-release configuration file contains information related to the operating system and its release.

We can simply use the cat command to view contents of /etc/os-release file.

cat /etc/os-release

Check ubuntu version with cat /etc/os-release command

The os-release file is most convenient way for other Linux distributions like CentOS.

4. Check Ubuntu Version using hostnamectl command

The hostnamectl command can be used to check the current Ubuntu version, as it returns all the details related to hostname settings.


Check Ubuntu version with hostnamectl command

This command may give an error if the system is not booted with systemd.

5. Check Ubuntu Version from /etc/issue file

The /etc/issue file contains system identification text to be printed before the login prompt.

cat /etc/issue

Check Ubuntu Version using from /etc/issue file

This might not be a reliable option if a user with root access edit it manually or use a custom script accidentally.


Some common questions you might have in mind related to version of Ubuntu system:

Q. How do I upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version?

You can upgrade to the latest Ubuntu release using do-release-upgrade command or Software Updater tool. Don't forget to backup important data before upgrading.

Q. How do I downgrade to an older Ubuntu version?

It is not possible to downgrade without installing the whole operating system from scratch.

Q. Which is Ubuntu version is best for my hardware?

The best version for your hardware can be found in official Ubuntu website compatibility list. Generally, newer versions require more resources, while older versions are more lightweight and stable, especially Long Term Support (or LTS) versions.

Q. How to check the kernel version of my Ubuntu system?

Use uname -r command to check kernel version.

In this article, we learned how to know and get the Ubuntu version. We used Gnome GUI, lsb command, os-release, /etc/issue, etc files. I hope after reading the article, you can easily get your system version.

About the author:
Pradeep has expertise in Linux, Go, Nginx, Apache, CyberSecurity, AppSec and various other technical areas. He has contributed to numerous publications and websites, providing his readers with insightful and informative content.