Out of the box, the only option for installing software on Kali Linux is to use the APT package manager from the command line, or download software directly from a developer's website.

This minimal approach can be appreciated, but sometimes it's just more convenient to use a GUI software mananger application to install programs. In this guide, we'll see how to install two different GUI software managers on Kali Linux, which can then be used to search for other software to install.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to install Software Center on Kali
  • How to install Synaptic Package Manager on Kali
  • How to use Software Center or Synaptic to install software
Software Center and Synaptic running on Kali Linux
Software Center and Synaptic running on Kali Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software Software Center, Synaptic Package Manager
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

Software Managers on Kali

There are a lot of choices when it comes to software managers. Two really popular options are Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager. Software Center is dead simple and is the default application on some distributions like Ubuntu.

Synaptic is a GUI front-end for APT, and inherently more robust than Software Center. Not long ago, it was the default application on many systems, but has fallen out of favor due to Software Center's simplicity.

Both work very well, and you can install whichever one you prefer. Instructions for installing both are included below.

Install Software Center

Open a terminal and type the following commands to install Software Center on Kali.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install gnome-software

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After installation has completed, you'll need to use vi or your favorite text editor to make an edit to the /etc/apt/sources.list file in order for the application to work. Add the following lines to the file.

$ sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://kali.download/kali/ kali-rolling main non-free contrib
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian stable main contrib non-free
deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling main non-free contrib
deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-last-snapshot main non-free contrib
deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-experimental main non-free contrib
deb-src http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling main non-free contrib

To open Software Center, run the gnome-software command from terminal. You can now browse for and install new applications, or remove current ones from your system.

Browsing Software Center for new programs to install
Browsing Software Center for new programs to install

Install Synaptic Package Manager

Open a terminal and type the following commands to install Synaptic Package Manager on Kali.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install synaptic

After installation has completed, use the application launcher to open Synaptic Package Manager.

Open Synaptic
Open Synaptic

You can now browse for and install new applications, or remove current ones from your system.

Browsing Synaptic Package Manager for new programs to install
Browsing Synaptic Package Manager for new programs to install

Conclusion

In this guide, we saw how to install two different GUI software managers in Kali Linux. Having a GUI program can sometimes prove more convenient than installing all needed applications from the command line. Both Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager are good choices for a Kali system.

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