Standard way to detect the Linux distro installed

Ivan Passos ivan at
Wed Jul 26 09:42:55 PDT 2000

PS: please CC your replies to me, since I'm not subscribed to the list.


I almost got into a situation where I needed to know what Linux distro 
I was trying to install my software in order to continue the 
installation. Regardless of this not being really necessary in this 
case (I found a way to get around the problem), I think it would be 
nice to have a _standard_ way of knowing which Linux distro is 
installed in the system.

'uname' would probably be a good candidate for that, but it doesn't 
need to be uname specifically. Nevertheless, it would be good to be a 
standard throughout all distros. Currently we have to look for certain
characteristics of certain systems (usually special text files, 
distro-specific packages, etc.), but these are not guaranteed to be 
there in all cases ...

Being able to detect the Linux distro type and, if possible, its 
version, would be really useful.

Does this already exist in the LSB?? If not, what do you think about 
it? Is it a good idea?!?! I really think it is.

Ivan Passos	|     Beware of programmers	|	 -o)
SW Engineer	|           who carry 		|	 /\\
Cyclades Corp	|         screwdrivers.		|	_\_V

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