Offensive Security, maintainers of the popular Kali Linux open source project, released Kali Linux 2019.4, the latest iteration of the Kali Linux penetration testing platform. The new release includes several new features, including a new default desktop environment, a new theme and a new undercover mode for pentesters doing assessment work in public places.
Move from Gnome to Xfce
The most noteworthy aspect of the 2019.4 release is Kali’s move from the Gnome environment to Xfce to address some known issues. Specific improvements as a result of the new environment include:
Improved performance – The Gnome environment is a fully-featured desktop environment with many capabilities. However all the capabilities come with overhead that is often not useful for a distribution like Kali. Moving to the more lightweight Xfce environment addresses these issues, providing an environment more in line with the typical Kali user’s needs.
Unified UI – Because Kali can be run on everything from bare metal to high end laptops, the lower-end ARM builds often had a different UI than other deployments. OffSec now offers a standardized UI for all Kali distributions.
Let’s say you are working in a public place and you might not want the distinctive Kali dragon for everyone to see and wonder what it is you are doing.
The developers made a little script that will change your Kali theme to look like a default Windows installation. That way, you can work a bit more incognito. After you are done and in a more private place, run the script again and you switch back to your Kali theme.
Other Kali Linux 2019.4 updates
- Kali Documentation has a new home and is now Git powered
- Public Packaging – getting your tools into Kali
- Kali NetHunter KeX – Full Kali desktop on Android
- BTRFS during setup
- Added PowerShell
- The kernel is upgraded to version 5.3.9
- Plus the normal bugs fixes and updates.