Kali Linux 2019.4 includes a new undercover mode for pentesters doing work in public places

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:

#1 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.

#2 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.

#3 Kali Undercover

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.

My final thought

Bye, Gnome, Hi, Xfce… The latest iteration swaps Gnome for Xfce as its main desktop environment, although users can keep a slightly tweaked Gnome build if they want. But as the Kali Linux team put it in a blog today:

“Gnome has been overkill for most Kali users, as many just want a window manager that allows you to run multiple terminal windows at once, and a web browser.”

Akhil Naidu

Akhil Naidu

I'm Akhil Naidu, the guy behind the leewardslope. - a blog about software development,technology and all that kind of geeky stuff.