How to output the version information of ls?

Whether you are a newbie or an experienced command line user on the Unix or Linux based systems, also on Windows, you are mostly have used the “ls” command for several times as it’s a very important tool while you are navigating your way through the file system. Also the most probably is that you have used only a couple of options and don’t know about others, and came into a situation when you asked yourself “What is the option to output the version information of ls?”. In this article, we will talk about the “ls” command and “how to output the version information of ls”.

What is “ls”?

“ls” stands for “list” and is a command used in Unix-based, Unix-like ( Linux ) operating systems, and also you can use it in the Windows PowerShell. It’s used to display a list of files and directories in a specified location. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that can provide you with valuable information about your files and help you navigate your file system more efficiently.

Basic Usage

To use “ls”, simply open up your terminal or command prompt and type ls followed by any options or arguments you want to use. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • ls => This will display a list of files and directories in the current directory. ls
    Here I have shown the content of the directory I’m currently in which are categories of books
  • ls -l => This will display a detailed list view, showing file permissions, ownership, size, and more. ls -l
    Now, it’s the same content but in a long format with more details
  • ls -a => This will show all files and directories, including hidden ones that start with a dot. ls -a
    Here, it shows my “.very very secret” book and the one dot for the current directory and two dots for the parent directory

Note: In Unix and Unix-like systems, all files and directories starting with dot are hidden

  • ls /path/to/directory => This will list the contents of a specific directory, rather than the current one.
    Now, it shows the content of the “Python” directory

Why should I know the “ls” command version?

Well, knowing the version of the "ls" command can be important for a few reasons:

  1. Feature Availability: Different versions of ls might have varying features. Knowing the version can help you understand which features are available and whether you can use certain flags or options.
  2. Bug Fixes and Updates: Newer versions often come with bug fixes and improvements. If you encounter issues, knowing your ls version helps determine if it’s due to an outdated version that might have known bugs.
  3. Compatibility: In some cases, scripts or commands might behave differently across versions. Being aware of the version helps ensure compatibility across different systems.
  4. Security Patches: Security vulnerabilities can be present in older versions. Updating to a newer version might patch these vulnerabilities and improve the security of your system.
  5. Support and Documentation: Troubleshooting or seeking help online often requires knowing the version. Documentation or solutions might vary based on the version, so having this information can streamline problem-solving.

How to know the “ls” command version?

It’s so simple, you just need to use the –version option with the “ls” command, so it’s like the following:

ls --version

How to know all the “ls” command options?

Very easy, you need to read its manual. You can find it here and by running the following command:

man ls


The “ls” command serves as a cornerstone for users navigating command-line interfaces. Its versatility and extensive range of options empower users to tailor directory listings to their specific needs. From basic file listing to in-depth file system exploration, “ls” remains an indispensable tool for both novice users and seasoned system administrators.

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