Finding about which OS is running via shell script

Tom H tomh0665 at
Sat Apr 27 19:01:47 UTC 2013

On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 10:05 AM, Paul Smith <paul at> wrote:
> On Sat, 2013-04-27 at 05:34 -0400, Tom H wrote:
>> Except that you can have, for example, yum installed on Ubuntu or
>> apt-get installed on Fedora.
> In fact I do this all the time, because I'm cross-building packages for
> different distributions.
> The standard, approved way, as I wrote right at the beginning of the
> thread, is to use the lsb_release program. All other methods suggested
> here are just heuristics based on a limited set of distributions with no
> standardization. lsb_release is part of Linux Standard Base which,
> while not getting the love I wish it had, is still at least nominally
> adhered to by most every distribution.

"/etc/os-release" was created by the systemd developers [1]. Even
Ubuntu's got it and Steam uses it.

The distributions listed in the script posted earlier in this thread
all have either a "/etc/*release" or "/etc/*version" file, or both,
that can be parsed rather than use the lsb_release script. Fedora 18
doesn't install the latter by default.


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