Getting uname information from a compressed kernel image

For Linux image compressed with gzip, use this:

dd if=arch/arm/boot/zImage bs=1 skip=$(LC_ALL=C grep -a -b -o $'\x1f\x8b\x08\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00' arch/arm/boot/zImage | head -n 1 | cut -d ':' -f 1) | zcat | grep -a 'Linux version'

For Linux image compressed with xz, use this:

dd if=arch/arm/boot/zImage bs=1 skip=$(LC_ALL=C grep -a -b -o $'\xFD\x37\x7A\x58\x5A\x00' arch/arm/boot/zImage | head -n 1 | cut -d ':' -f 1) | xzcat | grep -a 'Linux version'

Because the image file contains data after the end of the compressed stream, you'll get an error you can ignore.

The string constant appears to be part of the frozen userspace visible kernel API:

http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git;a=blob;f=init/version.c;hb=HEAD#l40


$ mkimage -l uImage

Image Name:   Linux-2.6.39
Created:      Wed Jun  6 13:49:58 2012
Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
Data Size:    3091036 Bytes = 3018.59 kB = 2.95 MB
Load Address: 80008000
Entry Point:  80008000