Kali Linux Gets New Desktop Environment & Undercover Theme

Kali Linux Gets New Desktop Environment & Undercover Theme
Updates to pen-testing platform are designed to improve performance and user interface, says Offensive Security, maintainer of the open source project.

Offensive Security, maintainer of the Kali Linux penetration-testing platform, has released a new version of the widely used open source project.


Key improvements in Kali Linux 2019.4 include a brand-new default desktop environment, a unified user interface, and an undercover feature that allows security researchers to use the pen-testing tool in a public setting without tipping their hand.


With the new release, Offensive Security has moved Kali Linux from Gnome to Xfce, a lightweight, open source desktop environment for Linux, BSD, and other Unix-like operating systems. The move is designed to improve performance and the user experience for pen-testers, according to Offensive Security.


Xfce, for instance, runs on all levels of Kali installs from high-end laptops to lower-end ARM-based systems. It also supports a unified user interface (UI) regardless of where the user is running Kali, whereas with Gnome some of Kali's lower-end ARM builds had a very different UI than on other platforms. Importantly, Xfce supports all the functionality the average Kali Linux user requires with none of the additional overhead associated with the Gnome desktop environment, according to Offensive Security.


"Gnome has been overkill for many Kali users, and we wanted to move to a desktop environment that does only what's needed," says Jim O'Gorman, chief content and strategy officer at Offensive Security.


Most Kali Linux users typically just want a web browser and a window manager that allows them to run multiple terminal windows at once. "By moving to Xfce, we're providing a lightweight, to-the-point experience, and a unified UI regardless of ..