/etc/release -- Consistency, never heard of it!

If you are working on a modern Unix machine (no, thats not an oxymoron) then it’s annoying difficult to determine the operating system name and version running. Where you should just be able to type ‘/etc/release’ and get the relevant details you instead need to either guess or brute-force your way through the possibilities. Debian stores this info in ‘/etc/debian_version’, Redhat in ‘/etc/redhat_release’. You know the world is going to end when Solaris makes the most sense and puts this information in ‘/etc/release’. Why is this better? Because it doesn’t assume my scripts know where they are running, they can determine that from the contents of the file itself!

A warning to one and all, this is going to become my new crusade ;)