The "bleeding edge" is a term used to describe brand new software that's not guaranteed to be stable. It remains largely untested, but comprises all the latest features that will be deployed to the masses after further experimenting. Kali Linux, by virtue of being based on Debian's testing branch, already sits pretty close to the edge.

You can configure your Kali system to download even newer software packages by adding Kali's bleeding edge repo to APT package manager. This is ideal for users that want access to the newest software and features and don't need their system to be ultra stable.

In this guide, we'll show you the step by step instructions for configuring the bleeding edge repo on Kali Linux, as well as the Debian unstable and experimental repositories.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to add bleeding edge repo to Kali
  • How to add Debian unstable and experimental repos to Kali
Installing packages from the bleeding edge, unstable, and experimental repos on Kali
Installing packages from the bleeding edge, unstable, and experimental repos on Kali
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Add Bleeding Edge Repo

The bleeding edge repo contains a lot of software that can change on a daily basis. Don't be surprised if you have a package break every once in a while, which is bound to happen with so many untested changes being pushed all the time.

Open a terminal and type the following commands to add Kali's bleeding edge repo.

$ sudo echo "deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-bleeding-edge main contrib non-free" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bleeding-edge.list
$ sudo apt update

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To install a specific package from the bleeding edge, you need to append the repo name at the end of a package, like in the following example.

$ sudo apt install dnsrecon/kali-bleeding-edge

If you experience problems with a package from the bleeding edge, it's easy enough to roll back to a more stable version. The default Kali repo is called "kali-rolling," so just append that name to the package and it will install the older, more stable version of it.

$ sudo apt install dnsrecon/kali-rolling

Add Debian Unstable and Experimental Repos

Kali also has access to Debian's unstable and experimental repos. Debian Unstable contains packages that have not yet made their way into Debian Testing (on which Kali Linux is based). Kali's bleeding edge repo is more for Kali-specific packages, whereas Debian Unstable will contain packages for Debian.

To get even closer to the edge, you could also use Debian's experimental repo. This contains the newest features, but also has a high probability of being buggy and underdeveloped.

Use the commands below if you'd like to add either of these repos to your system.

$ sudo echo "deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list
$ sudo echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian experimental main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list
$ sudo apt update

As in the examples above, you need to specify the repo from which a package should be installed.

$ sudo apt install dnsrecon/kali-bleeding-edge
$ sudo apt install socat/experimental
$ sudo apt install netperf/unstable

Conclusion

In this guide, we saw how to configure a Kali system to use the bleeding edge repo, as well as Debian's unstable and experimental repos. This is a great feature for users that wish to have the latest versions of various software packages. APT makes it easy to install the desired version or to roll back in case you encounter an issue with a package.

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