Christian Heimes added the comment:

I'm not suggesting a generic platform detection function but rather a limited 
function just for os-release. On platforms without /etc/os-release the function 
should obviously fail and raise an exception. 
/etc/os-release is available on distributions without systemd. Even my oldest 
Debian installation on a Raspberry Pi has it.

A large majority of Linux distributions has the file. It's available on Debian, 
Fedora, RHEL 6+, Ubuntu 14.04+ and many more.


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