It is important to know your Ubuntu version at all times. But especially when working with servers or Linux systems, because sometimes they do not have a graphical interface at your disposal.
Knowing your Ubuntu version will help you better understand which packages or applications you need to install. How to check your Ubuntu version?
This article will teach you how to check your Ubuntu version information in different ways, through the terminal and command line, and using the GUI.
Ubuntu Releases Explained
Ubuntu releases versions every 6 months. This may seem like a lot, but it makes development more controlled. Releases are usually released in April and October.
Every two years there is an LTS (long-term support) release with support for at least 5 years. The current LTS version is 20.04, released in April 2020. You’ve probably already noticed that the Ubuntu version number refers to the year and month of release. This means that the next LTS version will be 20.10 if this numbering is maintained.
In contrast, all other non-LTS releases have fairly short support, and their purpose is limited to testing new features and fixing bugs.
Find out your Ubuntu version through system settings
It is possible to tell which version of Ubuntu your computer is running from the GUI if you are using it in a desktop environment.
First, launch the Ubuntu app and open System Settings.
Scroll down and find the Details section and click on it.
You should now see a simple window with basic system information. In this window, we will be able to see the version of Ubuntu that we are using at the moment. As you can see from the screenshot, our system is running Ubuntu 18.04.
But if we are on a server? Or if the GUI is not available?
Know your Ubuntu version via the terminal
First, we need to use SSH to access our server.
There are several options that we can choose from, some show us the version directly and some give more information about the description of Ubuntu.
The fastest way to find out which version of Ubuntu you are using is to use this command line in your terminal:
The result will be similar to this:
If you are looking for a cleaner one-line description of your ubuntu version, use this command line:
The result for your Ubuntu version will look like this:
Description: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS
In addition, we can check the hardware information of the equipment, by running this command in the command line:
If the command does not work, you most likely need to install the hardware list utility with the following command:
sudo apt-get install lshw
Other ways to know its Ubuntu version via the terminal
There are several alternative commands you can use to check your version of Ubuntu. You can use:
The Ubuntu version will appear as follows:
DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu DISTRIB_RELEASE=18.04 DISTRIB_CODENAME=bionic DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS"
Or simply by typing this command:
The output of this command will look like this:
Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS \n \l
Knowing how to check which version of Ubuntu you are working on is something simple but essential. Not knowing your tools and system settings can complicate your job. One can check the Ubuntu version by GUI or Terminal and both methods are quick and easy.