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3 ways to check kernel version in Linux

If you’re a Linux user, it’s important to know your kernel version. The kernel is the core of the operating system, and it’s responsible for managing hardware and software resources. In this blog post, we will discuss three different ways to check your kernel version in Linux.  Let’s get started!

The following commands can be used to check the kernel version in Linux.

  • uname -r
  • cat /proc/version
  • hostnamectl | grep -i kernel


Procedures to check kernel version in Linux

  • Open the terminal.
  • Type uname -r and press Enter. You will see the kernel version from the command output
  • If you want to see more information about your kernel, type uname -a and press Enter. This will show you the kernel version, as well as the date it was released and the name of the person who compiled it.


Understanding kernel version in Linux

The kernel version is important for a variety of reasons. It tells you which features are supported by your operating system, and it also provides information about the hardware compatibility.

If you need to troubleshoot a problem, the kernel version can be helpful in identifying the source of the issue. The Linux kernel is a critical part of your system, and it’s important to keep it up-to-date.

For example:Linux 4.15.0-54-generic x86_64

Linux kernel is 64-bit and its version is 4.15.0-54, where:

  • 4 – Kernel Version.
  • 15 – Major Revision.
  • 0 – Minor Revision.
  • 54 – Patch number.
  • generic – Distribution specific information.


check kernel version with uname command in Linux

The best Linux command to check the kernel version is to use the uname command. This command will print out information about your system, including the kernel version. Open a terminal and type “uname -r”. This will print out the kernel version number.

example: uname -r

The uname command is a Unix/Linux command that stands for “Unix Name”. It is used to display information about the system’s operating system and hardware. The uname command can display different types of information depending on the options used with it.

Here are some of the commonly used options with the uname command:

  • -a : Displays all the system information.
  • -s : Displays the operating system name.
  • -n : Displays the network (hostname) name of the machine.
  • -r : Displays the kernel release number.
  • -m : Displays the machine hardware name.
  • -p : Displays the processor type.
  • -i : Displays the hardware platform.


For example, if you use the uname -a command, it will display all the information about the system, including the operating system name, kernel version, machine hardware name, and processor type etc.

check kernel version with /proc/version file in Linux

Another way to check your kernel version is to look in the /proc/version file. This file contains information about your kernel and other system information. To view this file, simply type “cat /proc/version” in a terminal.

example: $ cat /proc/version
Linux version 4.18.0-305.el8.x86_64 ( (gcc version 8.4.1 20200928 (Red Hat 8.4.1-1) (GCC)) #1 SMP Thu Apr 29 08:54:30 EDT 2021

The /proc directory in Linux is a virtual file system that provides an interface to kernel data structures and system information. It contains files and directories that expose information about various system resources, including processes, memory usage, CPU usage, network connections, and hardware devices.

Some of the commonly used files in /proc directory are:

  • /proc/cpuinfo: Provides information about the CPU installed on the system, such as its model, clock speed, and cache size.
  • /proc/meminfo: Provides information about the system’s memory usage, including the total amount of memory available, how much is in use, and how much is free.
  • /proc/filesystems: Lists all the file systems currently supported by the kernel.
  • /proc/loadavg: Provides the system load average, which is a measure of the amount of work the system is currently doing.


check kernel version with hostnamectl command in Linux

The third way to check your kernel version is to use the hostnamectl command. This command will print out information about your distribution, including the kernel version. To use the hostnamectl command, simply type “hostnamectl” in a terminal.

example: hostnamectl | grep -i kernel
Kernel: Linux 4.18.0-305.el8.x86_64

For example:

Static hostname: mycomputer
Icon name: computer-desktop
Chassis: desktop
Machine ID: 0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef
Boot ID: 0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef
Operating System: Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS
Kernel: Linux 5.4.0-90-generic
Architecture: x86-64

In this example, the kernel version is “Linux 5.4.0-90-generic”.

Note that the output of hostnamectl status will also provide other useful information about the system, such as the machine ID, boot ID, and architecture.

We hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!