Parrot OS vs Kali Linux: Which is better?

In today’s world where data breaches are on the rise, organizations have recognized the importance of ethical hacking as a crucial investment.

Penetration testing is a vital skill that ethical hackers must master, which is why operating systems like Parrot Security OS and Kali Linux have become crucial tools in their arsenal

This tutorial will delve into the highly debated topic of Parrot OS versus Kali Linux, providing you with insight into which operating system may better fit your specific workflow needs.

So, let’s start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of Kali Linux from scratch.

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is an open-source, Debian-based Linux distribution designed for digital forensics, security, and penetration testing. It is a popular choice among ethical hackers, security researchers, and IT professionals due to its extensive range of tools and features.

One of the key features of Kali Linux is its pre-installed tools. The current version of the distribution includes over 600 penetration testing tools, many of which have been carefully selected and reviewed by the Kali Linux development team.

The team has also removed scripts that no longer worked or duplicated the functionality of other tools, ensuring that the available tools are of the highest quality.

Another important aspect of Kali Linux is its secure development process. The Kali Linux team is comprised of a limited number of trusted individuals who are the only ones allowed to submit packages and interact with the repository.

This helps to reduce the risk of source code contamination and ensures that the operating system remains secure and reliable.

Kali Linux is also designed to be a multilingual operating system, with support for many different languages. This makes it easier for users to work in their native language and find the tools they need for their penetration testing tasks.


1. Pre-installed Tools: The current version of Kali Linux includes over 600 penetration tools. Developers eliminated numerous scripts that did not work or cloned other services that offered the same or equal functionality after extensively reviewing each tool available in BackTrack.

2. Safe Development: The Kali Linux team comprises a limited group of people who are the only ones trusted to submit packages and interact with the repository while employing different security mechanisms. Restricting access to critical codebases to external assets significantly reduces the risk of source contamination.

3. Multilingual OS: Although penetration tools are frequently developed in English, Kali’s creators have ensured that it has solid multilingual support, enabling more users to work in their native language and find the tools they need for their penetration testing journey.

4. ARM Support: Kali Linux is available on a wide variety of ARM devices. ARM libraries are integrated with the mainstream version, ensuring that the tools described above are updated in conjunction with the rest of the installation.

What is Parrot Security?

Parrot Security OS is a security-focused, Debian-based Linux distribution that offers a suite of penetration testing and ethical hacking tools. It is designed for privacy protection, digital forensics, and security auditing purposes.

The operating system is maintained by a team of developers and security experts and provides users with a comprehensive collection of software for these tasks.

Parrot Security OS provides support for both desktops and servers, and it is commonly used by security professionals, system administrators, and IT security enthusiasts for various security testing tasks.


1. Custom Kernel: In addition to the massive catalog of scripts, parrot security has its own customized Linux kernel, which has been specifically customized to give as much protection and resistance to intruders as possible as the first line of defense.

2. Variety of Apps: Parrot Security includes all the tools available in Kali Linux, a well-known penetration testing operating system, as well as a few more for good measure. This was accomplished while maintaining nearly the same operating system size between the two operating systems.

3. Customized Desktop: They provide two distinct desktop environments, MATE, which comes pre-installed by usual, and KDE. Consider desktop environments to be the primary user interface (UI) for a Linux distribution for those unaware of Linux terminology.

4. Lightweight: One of the critical advantages of Parrot OS vs Kali Linux is its small size. This means that it requires substantially less disc space and computer power to perform correctly, with as little as 320MB of RAM needed.

Parrot OS vs Kali Linux Comparison

Parrot OS and Kali Linux are two popular open-source penetration testing and security-focused operating systems.

here is a table comparing some key features of Parrot OS and Kali Linux:

Feature Parrot OS Kali Linux
Primary Focus Privacy, anonymity, digital forensics Penetration testing, security auditing
Interface User-friendly, multiple desktop environments Minimalist, command-line focused
Built-in Tools Wide range of GUI-based tools for cryptography, encryption, and security Extensive collection of command-line tools for penetration testing and security auditing
Updates Less frequent updates, fewer community contributions Frequent updates, active development community
Hardware Requirements Lower hardware requirements, suitable for older or less powerful machines Higher hardware requirements, may not work well on older or less powerful machines

Note that this table is not exhaustive and is only meant to provide a general overview of some of the key differences between these two operating systems. Users are encouraged to do their own research and evaluate their specific needs before choosing an operating system for their particular use case.

Both systems are used by ethical hackers and security researchers for various purposes, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and digital forensics. Here is a direct comparison between Parrot OS and Kali Linux:

1. Package Management: Parrot OS uses Debian’s package management system, while Kali Linux uses its own custom APT package manager.

2. User Interface: Parrot OS is known for its clean and user-friendly interface, while Kali Linux is a more traditional, text-based interface.

3. Focus: Parrot OS is designed for ethical hacking, digital forensics, and privacy protection, while Kali Linux is primarily focused on penetration testing and security research.

4. Hardware Requirements: Both systems require similar hardware specifications, but Kali Linux is known to require more resources to run smoothly.

5. Pre-installed Tools: Both Parrot OS and Kali Linux come with a large number of pre-installed security and penetration testing tools, with Kali Linux having slightly more tools available.

6. Community: Kali Linux has a larger and more active community of users and developers compared to Parrot OS, providing more resources and support for users.

Which OS to Go For?

Kali Linux will be the best choice for you should you favor the following qualities-

  • Extensive community support
  • Trusted Development Team
  • Fit for powerful systems
  • Semi-Professional Environment

Parrot Security is a more viable alternative for users looking at the following benefits-

  • Very lightweight and lean
  • A plethora of tools pre-installed
  • Suitable for under-powered rigs
  • Relatively more straightforward user interface

With this, you have reached the end of this tutorial on Parrot OS vs Kali Linux.

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