The code below could explain in its own right, how http://thismachine.info/ is able to show which operating system someone is using.

What it does is that, it sniffs your core operating system model, for example windows nt 5.1 as my own.

It then passes windows nt 5.1/i to Windows XP as the operating system.

Using: '/windows nt 5.1/i' => 'Windows XP', from an array.

You could say guesswork, or an approximation yet nonetheless pretty much bang on.

Borrowed from an answer on SO https://stackoverflow.com/a/15497878/

<?php

$user_agent = $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];

function getOS() { 

    global $user_agent;

    $os_platform  = "Unknown OS Platform";

    $os_array     = array(
                          '/windows nt 10/i'      =>  'Windows 10',
                          '/windows nt 6.3/i'     =>  'Windows 8.1',
                          '/windows nt 6.2/i'     =>  'Windows 8',
                          '/windows nt 6.1/i'     =>  'Windows 7',
                          '/windows nt 6.0/i'     =>  'Windows Vista',
                          '/windows nt 5.2/i'     =>  'Windows Server 2003/XP x64',
                          '/windows nt 5.1/i'     =>  'Windows XP',
                          '/windows xp/i'         =>  'Windows XP',
                          '/windows nt 5.0/i'     =>  'Windows 2000',
                          '/windows me/i'         =>  'Windows ME',
                          '/win98/i'              =>  'Windows 98',
                          '/win95/i'              =>  'Windows 95',
                          '/win16/i'              =>  'Windows 3.11',
                          '/macintosh|mac os x/i' =>  'Mac OS X',
                          '/mac_powerpc/i'        =>  'Mac OS 9',
                          '/linux/i'              =>  'Linux',
                          '/ubuntu/i'             =>  'Ubuntu',
                          '/iphone/i'             =>  'iPhone',
                          '/ipod/i'               =>  'iPod',
                          '/ipad/i'               =>  'iPad',
                          '/android/i'            =>  'Android',
                          '/blackberry/i'         =>  'BlackBerry',
                          '/webos/i'              =>  'Mobile'
                    );

    foreach ($os_array as $regex => $value)
        if (preg_match($regex, $user_agent))
            $os_platform = $value;

    return $os_platform;
}

function getBrowser() {

    global $user_agent;

    $browser        = "Unknown Browser";

    $browser_array = array(
                            '/msie/i'      => 'Internet Explorer',
                            '/firefox/i'   => 'Firefox',
                            '/safari/i'    => 'Safari',
                            '/chrome/i'    => 'Chrome',
                            '/edge/i'      => 'Edge',
                            '/opera/i'     => 'Opera',
                            '/netscape/i'  => 'Netscape',
                            '/maxthon/i'   => 'Maxthon',
                            '/konqueror/i' => 'Konqueror',
                            '/mobile/i'    => 'Handheld Browser'
                     );

    foreach ($browser_array as $regex => $value)
        if (preg_match($regex, $user_agent))
            $browser = $value;

    return $browser;
}


$user_os        = getOS();
$user_browser   = getBrowser();

$device_details = "<strong>Browser: </strong>".$user_browser."<br /><strong>Operating System: </strong>".$user_os."";

print_r($device_details);

echo("<br /><br /><br />".$_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT']."");

?>

Footnotes: (Jan. 19/14) There was a suggested edit on Jan. 18, 2014 to add /msie|trident/i by YJSoft a new member on SO.

The comment read as:

Comment: because msie11's ua doesn't include msie (it includes trident instead)

I researched this for a bit, and found a few links explaining the Trident string.

Although the edit was rejected (not by myself, but by some of the other editors), it's worth reading up on the links above, and to use your proper judgement.


As per a question asked about detecting SUSE, have found this piece of code at the following URL:

Additional code:

/* return Operating System */
function operating_system_detection(){
    if ( isset( $_SERVER ) ) {
        $agent = $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
    }
    else {
        global $HTTP_SERVER_VARS;
        if ( isset( $HTTP_SERVER_VARS ) ) {
            $agent = $HTTP_SERVER_VARS['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
        }
        else {
            global $HTTP_USER_AGENT;
            $agent = $HTTP_USER_AGENT;
        }
    }
    $ros[] = array('Windows XP', 'Windows XP');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 5.1|Windows NT5.1)', 'Windows XP');
    $ros[] = array('Windows 2000', 'Windows 2000');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 5.0', 'Windows 2000');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 4.0|WinNT4.0', 'Windows NT');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 5.2', 'Windows Server 2003');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 6.0', 'Windows Vista');
    $ros[] = array('Windows NT 7.0', 'Windows 7');
    $ros[] = array('Windows CE', 'Windows CE');
    $ros[] = array('(media center pc).([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'Windows Media Center');
    $ros[] = array('(win)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9x]{1,2})', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('(win)([0-9]{2})', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('(windows)([0-9x]{2})', 'Windows');
    // Doesn't seem like these are necessary...not totally sure though..
    //$ros[] = array('(winnt)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1}', 'Windows NT');
    //$ros[] = array('(windows nt)(([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1})', 'Windows NT'); // fix by bg
    $ros[] = array('Windows ME', 'Windows ME');
    $ros[] = array('Win 9x 4.90', 'Windows ME');
    $ros[] = array('Windows 98|Win98', 'Windows 98');
    $ros[] = array('Windows 95', 'Windows 95');
    $ros[] = array('(windows)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('win32', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('(java)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'Java');
    $ros[] = array('(Solaris)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9x]{1,2}){0,1}', 'Solaris');
    $ros[] = array('dos x86', 'DOS');
    $ros[] = array('unix', 'Unix');
    $ros[] = array('Mac OS X', 'Mac OS X');
    $ros[] = array('Mac_PowerPC', 'Macintosh PowerPC');
    $ros[] = array('(mac|Macintosh)', 'Mac OS');
    $ros[] = array('(sunos)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1}', 'SunOS');
    $ros[] = array('(beos)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1}', 'BeOS');
    $ros[] = array('(risc os)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'RISC OS');
    $ros[] = array('os/2', 'OS/2');
    $ros[] = array('freebsd', 'FreeBSD');
    $ros[] = array('openbsd', 'OpenBSD');
    $ros[] = array('netbsd', 'NetBSD');
    $ros[] = array('irix', 'IRIX');
    $ros[] = array('plan9', 'Plan9');
    $ros[] = array('osf', 'OSF');
    $ros[] = array('aix', 'AIX');
    $ros[] = array('GNU Hurd', 'GNU Hurd');
    $ros[] = array('(fedora)', 'Linux - Fedora');
    $ros[] = array('(kubuntu)', 'Linux - Kubuntu');
    $ros[] = array('(ubuntu)', 'Linux - Ubuntu');
    $ros[] = array('(debian)', 'Linux - Debian');
    $ros[] = array('(CentOS)', 'Linux - CentOS');
    $ros[] = array('(Mandriva).([0-9]{1,3}(\.[0-9]{1,3})?(\.[0-9]{1,3})?)', 'Linux - Mandriva');
    $ros[] = array('(SUSE).([0-9]{1,3}(\.[0-9]{1,3})?(\.[0-9]{1,3})?)', 'Linux - SUSE');
    $ros[] = array('(Dropline)', 'Linux - Slackware (Dropline GNOME)');
    $ros[] = array('(ASPLinux)', 'Linux - ASPLinux');
    $ros[] = array('(Red Hat)', 'Linux - Red Hat');
    // Loads of Linux machines will be detected as unix.
    // Actually, all of the linux machines I've checked have the 'X11' in the User Agent.
    //$ros[] = array('X11', 'Unix');
    $ros[] = array('(linux)', 'Linux');
    $ros[] = array('(amigaos)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'AmigaOS');
    $ros[] = array('amiga-aweb', 'AmigaOS');
    $ros[] = array('amiga', 'Amiga');
    $ros[] = array('AvantGo', 'PalmOS');
    //$ros[] = array('(Linux)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,3}(rel\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1}-([0-9]{1,2}) i([0-9]{1})86){1}', 'Linux');
    //$ros[] = array('(Linux)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,3}(rel\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1} i([0-9]{1}86)){1}', 'Linux');
    //$ros[] = array('(Linux)([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,3}(rel\.[0-9]{1,2}){0,1})', 'Linux');
    $ros[] = array('[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,3})', 'Linux');
    $ros[] = array('(webtv)/([0-9]{1,2}\.[0-9]{1,2})', 'WebTV');
    $ros[] = array('Dreamcast', 'Dreamcast OS');
    $ros[] = array('GetRight', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('go!zilla', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('gozilla', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('gulliver', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('ia archiver', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('NetPositive', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('mass downloader', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('microsoft', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('offline explorer', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('teleport', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('web downloader', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('webcapture', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('webcollage', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('webcopier', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('webstripper', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('webzip', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('wget', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('Java', 'Unknown');
    $ros[] = array('flashget', 'Windows');
    // delete next line if the script show not the right OS
    //$ros[] = array('(PHP)/([0-9]{1,2}.[0-9]{1,2})', 'PHP');
    $ros[] = array('MS FrontPage', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('(msproxy)/([0-9]{1,2}.[0-9]{1,2})', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('(msie)([0-9]{1,2}.[0-9]{1,2})', 'Windows');
    $ros[] = array('libwww-perl', 'Unix');
    $ros[] = array('UP.Browser', 'Windows CE');
    $ros[] = array('NetAnts', 'Windows');
    $file = count ( $ros );
    $os = '';
    for ( $n=0 ; $n<$file ; $n++ ){
        if ( preg_match('/'.$ros[$n][0].'/i' , $agent, $name)){
            $os = @$ros[$n][1].' '.@$name[2];
            break;
        }
    }
    return trim ( $os );
}

Edit: April 12, 2015

I noticed a question yesterday that could be relevant to this Q&A and may be helpful for some. In regards to:

Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 4.4.2; SAMSUNG-GT-I9505 Build/KOT49H) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36


Another edit , and adding a reference link that was asked (and answered/accepted today, Nov. 4/16) which may be of use.

Consult the Q&A here on Stack: