Version & Distribution identification

Evan Leibovitch evan at
Wed Apr 26 07:22:30 PDT 2000

On Wed, 26 Apr 2000, Christopher Yeoh wrote:

> - Is the /etc/lsb-release file needed given that the same
>   information is most likely available through the package
>   manager? Is it just easier to get the information out of a simple
>   text file?

Yes. The problem is that there's no current consistent way for an
application developer to query the system as to what distribution
is being used for the installation.

One could argue that so long as the distribution being used is
LSB-compliant it shouldn't matter, and that should be true for most cases.
But there should still be a standard way for a user or app to identify the

Defining the KEY=VALUE system is fine, but there shouldn't need to be too
much data here. Most of it, as you say, should come out of the package
management system.

> - Would this belong in the LSB spec or in the Linux annex
>   of the FHS?

It would be nice to see in the FHS because that's a subset of the LSB and
thus easier for distributors to implement. I would like to encourage the
presence of this file even on systems that aren't otherwise LSB (or even
FHS) compilant. For this reason I'd suggest something more generic for a
filename than /etc/lsb-release. If /etc/linux-release or /etc/dist-release
isn't viable, how about simply /etc/release?

evan leibovitch <evan at>                            starnix inc.
tollfree: 1-87-pro-linux                         brampton, ontario, canada              professional linux services & products

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