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OT: How to determine which distro(Debian,RH, etc)?

What is the best way to determine which distribution of Linux a machine
is running?

I know that Debian has a file /etc/debian_version which is part of the 
base-files package so that should be present on all Debian machines.
What do other dists have that is a sure way of knowing what dist is set
up on the machine?

Mechanical Engineering                              servis@purdue.edu
Purdue University                   http://www.ecn.purdue.edu/~servis

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