How To Find Your Raspbian Version

Raspbian version commandsA few ways to find information on your Raspbian version

A quick tip for you today folks, to show you a few different ways to identify the Raspbian version you’re running on your Raspberry Pi.

I had to do a bit of troubleshooting recently as the latest version of Raspbian (Stretch) seemed to cause an issue with one of my SPI devices. My first step was to attempt to re-create the problem on an old version of Raspbian (Jessie), but I didn’t know which version each of my Pis were running.

After a few minutes of searching I found a range of different commands that all fetch information on your Raspbian version, and as always, I’m sharing what I learnt right here on my blog.

Here are your options:


The Uname method gives you the ability to choose what information you would like to display.

Use the command man uname to see the available options:

man uname

Use ‘man uname’ to see the available command options

Then enter the command with your chosen letter at the end. In the following image I’ve used uname -a:

uname -a

The ‘uname -a’ option

Cat Debian Version

If you’re only after the Debian version number, just enter the following command:

cat /etc/debian_version

This will show just the version number on its own:

cat debian version

Use this command if you’re only after the Debian version

Cat Os Release

An option offering more comprehensive information is the os-release command, as follows:

cat /etc/os-release

This brings back most of the available information on your Raspbian version, however still lacks some of the detail of other options:

cat os-release

A meatier list of information is available with the cat os-release command

Cat Proc Version

I probably won’t use this option much, as I have to confess that I don’t really know some of the things it’s showing me. However if you’re more qualified than I am (doesn’t take much), you may find this command useful:

cat /proc/version

Here’s what it displays:

cat proc version

Dc4 and crosstool…yes…of course…

Lsb Release

Last but not least, we have the lsb release option. It provides the version number and name in a clear and simple way, which is all I really needed for my SPI troubleshooting. Use the following command to try it yourself:

lsb_release -a

Here’s what mine looked like running Stretch 9.1:

lsb release

Grab simple Raspbian version names and numbers with the lsb release command

Go Find Your Raspbian Version

That’s about it for today, just a short blog to share my findings from this evening’s Googling. Hopefully it’ll come in handy for you some day.

Now, time for me to fix that SPI display!

Until next time…

2 Comments on "How To Find Your Raspbian Version"

  1. Thanks for the great roundup, and for the terrific blog generally. Let me suggest one more method for your list:

    $ cat /etc/issue

    which on one of my Wheezy-based Pis prints the following:

    Raspbian GNU/Linux 7 \n \l

    As explained by “man issue,” this is the text file used by getty to tell you what you’re logging into when you log in (at the terminal).

    I am not sure whether /etc/issue is part of the POSIX standard, but it’s been there on every Linux (and Unix) box I can recall trying it on.

    Note too, BTW, that a couple of these mechanisms (“uname -a” and “cat /proc/version”) will tell you a lot of info about, e.g., what *kernel* you’re running, but not what *OS distribution* is sitting on top of it. Still good info at the right time, of course, just not too directly helpful for your stated purpose here.

    Thanks again for the great blog, and I’m looking forward to seeing more now that the houses and sprogs are letting up a little! 🙂

    • Thanks Scott, I can’t believe there are so many ways of finding version details! Terminology – yep – always confuses me…’Kernels’…’Distributions’…’Versions’…I’m lost 😀

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