So, what’s new in Kali 2.0? There’s a new 4.0 kernel, now based on Debian Jessie, improved hardware and wireless driver coverage, support for a variety of Desktop Environments (gnome, kde, xfce, mate, e17, lxde, i3wm), updated desktop environment and tools – and the list goes on.
Kali Linux is Now a Rolling Distribution
One of the biggest moves we’ve taken to keep Kali 2.0 up-to-date in a global, continuous manner, is transforming Kali into a rolling distribution. What this means is that we are pulling our packages continuously from Debian Testing (after making sure that all packages are installable) – essentially upgrading the Kali core system, while allowing us to take advantage of newer Debian packages as they roll out. This move is where our choice in Debian as a base system really pays off – we get to enjoy the stability of Debian, while still remaining on the cutting edge.
Continuously Updated Tools, Enhanced Workflow
Another interesting development in our infrastructure has been the integration of an upstream version checking system, which alerts us when new upstream versions of tools are released (usually via git tagging). This script runs daily on a select list of common tools and keeps us alerted if a new tool requires updating. With this new system in place, core tool updates will happen more frequently. With the introduction of this new monitoring system, we will slowly start phasing out the “tool upgrades” option in our bug tracker.
New Flavours of Kali Linux 2.0
Through our Live Build process, Kali 2.0 now natively supports KDE, GNOME3, Xfce, MATE, e17, lxde and i3wm. We’ve moved on to GNOME 3 in this release, marking the end of a long abstinence period. We’ve finally embraced GNOME 3 and with a few custom changes, it’s grown to be our favourite desktop environment. We’ve added custom support for multi-level menus, true terminal transparency, as well as a handful of useful gnome shell extensions. This however has come at a price – the minimum RAM requirements for a full GNOME 3 session has increased to 768 MB. This is a non-issue on modern hardware but can be detrimental on lower-end machines. For this reason, we have also released an official, minimal Kali 2.0 ISO. This “light” flavour of Kali includes a handful of useful tools together with the lightweight Xfce desktop environment – a perfect solution for resource-constrained computers.
Kali Linux 2.0 ARM Images & NetHunter 2.0
We haven’t forgotten about NetHunter, our favourite mobile penetration testing platform – which also got an update and now includes Kali 2.0. With this, we’ve released a whole barrage of new NetHunter images for Nexus 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10. The OnePlus One NetHunter image has also been updated to Kali 2.0 and now has a much awaited image for CM12 as well – check the Offensive Security NetHunter page for more information.
The whole ARM image section has been updated across the board with Kali 2.0 – including Raspberry Pi, Chromebooks, Odroids… The whole lot! In the process, we’ve added some new images – such as the latest Chromebook Flip – the little beauty here on the right. Go ahead, click on the image, take a closer look. Another helpful change we’ve implemented in our ARM images is including kernel sources, for easier compilation of new drivers.
Updated VMware and VirtualBox Images
If you want to build your own virtual environment, you can consult our documentation site on how to install the various virtual guest tools for a smoother experience.
How Do I Upgrade to Kali 2.0?
Yes, you can upgrade Kali 1.x to Kali 2.0! To do this, you will need to edit your source.list entries, and run a dist-upgrade as shown below. If you have been using incorrect or extraneous Kali repositories or otherwise manually installed or overwritten Kali packages outside of apt, your upgrade to Kali 2.0 may fail. This includes scripts like lazykali.sh, PTF, manual git clones in incorrect directories, etc. – All of these will clobber existing files on the filesystem and result in a failed upgrade. If this is the case for you, you’re better off reinstalling your OS from scratch.
Otherwise, feel free to:
cat << EOF > /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://http.kali.org/kali sana main non-free contrib
deb http://security.kali.org/kali-security/ sana/updates main contrib non-free
apt-get dist-upgrade # get a coffee, or 10.