Get System Information from the command line

Apr 23, 2007 - 12 Comments

Regardless of how many Mac’s you administer, there will surely come a time when you’ll need to retrieve relevant System Information. Gathering system information from the command line is vital for system and network administration, so the next time you’ve accessed a machine through SSH, find out what you need to know with two helpful command line tools. Here’s how, using the the sw_vers command and the system_profiler command:


sw_vers
The sw_vers command is short and sweet, it will give you the current operating system version and build number, with output as such:
$ sw_vers
ProductName: Mac OS X
ProductVersion: 10.4.9
BuildVersion: 8P2137

system_profiler
system_profiler is just a command line interface to the GUI app System Profiler (found in your Utilities folder). It’s very handy for learning about a machine over a network or remote connection via SSH. The standard output will blast you with screenfulls of content so it is best to pipe through the more command as follows:
$ system_profiler | more
This will allow you to view the output of system_profiler one screen at a time, navigable by the arrow keys and page up/down.

If you’re looking for information on your Airport connection, be sure to use the hidden Airport utility discussed here.

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Posted by: David Mendez in Command Line, How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

12 Comments

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  1. orville says:

    also you can use uname for unix related stats and information about your system

    uname -a

    it will spit back kernel info

  2. Jay says:

    /proc is a wondrous thing on ubuntu/debian (and more I’m sure) distros

    cat /proc/cpuinfo for processor info

    cat /proc/meminfo for RAM status

  3. mugab says:

    Jay’s tip is right but it doesn’t work on the Mac, is there a Mac OS X equivalent to the information in /proc ?

  4. srinivas says:

    Anyone know, how to create a group in mac os x leopad, i wanted to install oracle. And any info how to install oracle on iMac?

  5. Blu3fish says:

    Thank you much, worked like a charm.

    @srinivas Might want to spin up another discussion for that – or see if there is an existing one already spun.

    Cheers,
    Brennan

  6. Javier says:

    Buenas tardes… me gustaría saber como extraer la información de lo mismo pero de una copia que está en Time Machine. Tengo una copia de seguridad en Time Machine y me gustaría saber que disco duro tenía en ese momento y cual era su numero de serie. Muchas gracias!

  7. Javier says:

    Excuse me…:

    Good afternoon … I want to know how to extract the same information but in a copy that is Time Machine. I have a backup in Time Machine and would like to know that hard drive was at that moment and what was its serial number. Thank you very much!

  8. danik says:

    i used this command
    hostinfo

  9. Rahav says:

    I am converting a Python program from Linux to OSX. The current program iterates through all of the attached devices with the following

    for f in glob.iglob(‘/sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/*/product’):

    Is there an equivalent directory to the /sys on OSX?

    Thanks,
    Rahav

  10. Boyd Waters says:

    Take a look at the XML file at /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist

    See also the bless(8) command; “man bless” for more info.

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