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Distro - an OS platform information API

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distro provides information about the OS distribution it runs on, such as a reliable machine-readable ID, or version information.

It is the recommended replacement for Python's original platform.linux_distribution function (removed in Python 3.8). It also provides much more functionality which isn't necessarily Python bound, like a command-line interface.

Distro currently supports Linux and BSD based systems but Windows and OS X support is also planned.

For Python 2.6 support, see


Installation of the latest released version from PyPI:

pip install distro

Installation of the latest development version:

pip install

To use as a standalone script, download directly:

curl -O

distro is safe to vendor within projects that do not wish to add dependencies.

cd myproject
curl -O


$ distro
Name: Antergos Linux
Version: 2015.10 (ISO-Rolling)
Codename: ISO-Rolling

$ distro -j
    "codename": "ISO-Rolling",
    "id": "antergos",
    "like": "arch",
    "version": "16.9",
    "version_parts": {
        "build_number": "",
        "major": "16",
        "minor": "9"

$ python
>>> import distro
'CentOS Linux 8'
>>> distro.version(best=True)


On top of the aforementioned API, several more functions are available. For a complete description of the API, see the latest API documentation.


An alternative implementation became necessary because Python 3.5 deprecated this function, and Python 3.8 removed it altogether. Its predecessor function platform.dist was already deprecated since Python 2.6 and removed in Python 3.8. Still, there are many cases in which access to that information is needed. See Python issue 1322 for more information.

The distro package implements a robust and inclusive way of retrieving the information about a distribution based on new standards and old methods, namely from these data sources (from high to low precedence):

  • The os-release file /etc/os-release if present, with a fall-back on /usr/lib/os-release if needed.
  • The output of the lsb_release command, if available.
  • The distro release file (/etc/*(-|_)(release|version)), if present.
  • The uname command for BSD based distrubtions.

Python and Distribution Support

distro is supported and tested on Python 3.6+ and PyPy and on any distribution that provides one or more of the data sources covered.

This package is tested with test data that mimics the exact behavior of the data sources of a number of Linux distributions.


git clone
cd distro
pip install tox


Pull requests are always welcome to deal with specific distributions or just for general merriment.

See CONTRIBUTIONS for contribution info.

Reference implementations for supporting additional distributions and file formats can be found here:

Package manager distributions