Kali Linux is not your typical Linux distribution. It has a very specific use case, and that is to provide the user with penetration testing and ethical hacking tools. For other most popular Linux distributions please visit our dedicated linux download page.

Under the hood, Kali Linux runs much like Debian, on which it is based. However, Kali should not be used as an ordinary operating system; it has a specific purpose in penetration testing and security auditing and should be used strictly for that.

Kali Linux is completely free and is a convenient choice for security professionals, as it compiles over 600 penetration testing tools into the operating system. Kali is configured by default to disable many network services and other potential vulnerabilities like Bluetooth.

The developers assume that if you are using Kali Linux, you are a security professional in an environment where you are expected to perform ethical hacking tests. As such, the OS has been very tailored for this exact scenario.

Kali Linux running Xfce desktop and showing various security and penetration tools
Kali Linux running Xfce desktop and showing various security and penetration tools

Kali Linux Release Schedule


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Kali Linux has a rolling release schedule, meaning you don't need to worry about downloading any new releases. Just run the update/upgrade commands with your package manager and your distro will always have the latest packages, including the security testing software.

Download Kali Linux

Kali's download page has ISO images for 64 bit and 32 bit systems. It uses the Xfce desktop environment by default.

Since Kali is basically a compilation of tools, it's common for sysadmins and security professionals to load the operating system onto a USB drive. The download page has a live version available for this purpose. There are also VMware images that you can download on the same page.

Closing Thoughts

Kali Linux is meant for one purpose and it serves that purpose very well. For anyone that needs to do penetration testing or some other kind of security auditing, using Kali Linux is much more ideal than downloading individual tools for the job.

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