How to Check Ubuntu Version Using GUI and Terminal Commands

Knowing your Ubuntu version is crucial, especially when dealing with VPS hosting and Linux systems without a graphical interface.

Ubuntu releases a Long Term Support (LTS) version every two years, like the 20.04 version from April 2020, supported for at least 5 years. Interim versions, released every six months, focus on testing new features.

This guide will teach you how to check your Ubuntu version using both the terminal and graphical interface.

How to Check Ubuntu Version Through System Settings

It is possible to know which version of Ubuntu your computer is running from the graphical interface if you’re running it in a desktop environment.

  1. Start the Ubuntu application and open up the System Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and look for the Details section and click on it.
  3. Locate the window with the basic information, and in it see the Ubuntu version.

As you can see in the screenshot, our system is running Ubuntu 18.04.

Check Ubuntu version through the GUI

How to Check Ubuntu Version Through the Terminal

There are several command options we can choose for a Ubuntu version check. Some show the version directly and others give more Ubuntu description information.

  1. Open your terminal (CTRL + ALT + T) and then proceed.
  2. Run the lsb_release -a command.
  3. Check the output for the current Ubuntu version.

The output will look similar to this:

Checking the Ubuntu System Version in the Terminal

If you are looking for a cleaner description line of what version your Ubuntu is, use the following command:

lsb_release -d

The output of your Ubuntu version will look like this:

Description: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

As a bonus, we can verify the Ubuntu hardware information of the equipment, by executing this command in the command line:

sudo lshw

If the command doesn’t work, you most likely have to install the list hardware utility with the following command:

sudo apt-get install lshw

Other Ways to Check Ubuntu Version Through the Terminal

There are a handful of alternative commands you can use to check your Ubuntu version and information. Let’s take a look at the command cat. You can use:

cat /etc/lsb-release

With the version of Ubuntu looking like this:

DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu
DISTRIB_RELEASE=18.04
DISTRIB_CODENAME=bionic
DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS"

Or simply typing in this command:

cat /etc/issue

The output from this command will look like this:

Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS \n \l

Conclusion

Knowing different ways of checking the Ubuntu version you’re working on is something simple yet essential. Not knowing your tools, information, and system settings can complicate your work.

To summarize, you can check your Ubuntu version through the below methods:

  1. Check your Ubuntu version in the GUI settings
  2. Use the lsb_release -a or lsb_release -d command line
  3. Use the cat /etc/lsb-release or cat /etc/issue command line

We hope that this article has helped you check your Ubuntu version information through the graphical interface or the terminal, and both methods are quick and easy. If you have any questions or tips, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.

Author
The author

Edward S.

Edward is a content editor with years of experience in IT writing, marketing, and Linux system administration. His goal is to encourage readers to establish an impactful online presence. He also really loves dogs, guitars, and everything related to space.