Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
How can I find which desktop enviroment I am using?

I'm a desktop user and boot straight into it. What's the best way to tell which desktop package I'm using (both kind and version), despite what would normally come with Ubuntu, and despite how it's configured or visually customized? I assume this info is stored in a configuration file somewhere for viewing, or queryable in some programmatic manner.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Tom Brossman, John S Gruber, con-f-use, RobotHumans, Jorge Castro Sep 9 '12 at 16:43

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Post a screen shot and someone will tell you. Print Screen key should work. – wojox May 30 '11 at 3:08
@wojox: Interesting solution but I'm looking for something more generic. Not every user who comes across this question and wants to know their desktop should have to post a screen shot. They should be able to follow a prescribed solution according to the question. – John K May 30 '11 at 3:17
Here's a pretty generic command that works if the user has sudoers access: sudo grep "Starting session" /var/log/lightdm/lightdm.log – labarna May 4 '12 at 3:35
Possible duplicate here. It's more recent and has a simple, accepted answer. – Tom Brossman Sep 8 '12 at 17:05

If you go to System > Administration > System Monitor, enter you password when prompted and then select the System tab, you will see the details of your current install, eg:

Release 10.10 (maverick)
Kernel Linux 2.6.35-28-generic
GNOME 2.32.0

Where, in this case, the desktop environment is Gnome 2.32.0

share|improve this answer
The user may have to find the 'System Monitor' tool in their version of the desktop, if it's not under that specific path. – John K May 30 '11 at 4:34

In Ubuntu you can use following commands:

  • echo $DESKTOP_SESSION: This command return ubuntu when you are using Unity and ubuntu-2d when you are using Unity 2D and ...


  • sudo grep "Starting session" /var/log/lightdm/lightdm.log: Because of last version of Ubuntu use lightdm as display manager you can see last line of the lightdm.log file.

When you find out which desktop environment you are using, you can go to a package manager program like "synaptic" and check what is your desktop environment version.

share|improve this answer

Install the sysinfo Install sysinfo application from Ubuntu Software Center. It can give all the information you need.

share|improve this answer

You can also try the following commands in the terminal

lsb_release -a
uname -a
cat /proc/version
share|improve this answer
Those exact commands don't provide me any info about the desktop being used, only about the Ubuntu distribution. For example, there's no mention of Gnome 2.32.1 and in my circumstance that's the currently installed/running desktop. – John K May 30 '11 at 13:07
Here's the actual output of all the commands mentioned in your original suggestion: john@ubuntu:/$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 11.04 Release: 11.04 Codename: natty john@ubuntu:/$ uname -a Linux ubuntu 2.6.38-8-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:24 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux john@ubuntu:/$ cat /proc/version Linux version 2.6.38-8-generic (buildd@allspice) (gcc version 4.5.2 (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.5.2-8ubuntu3) ) #42-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:24 UTC 2011 – John K May 30 '11 at 13:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.