Your Guide to Choose the Best Operating System Between Parrot OS vs. Kali Linux

Ethical hacking has become a necessary investment point for organizations worldwide, owing to the number of data breaches growing exponentially. With penetration testing as an essential skill to master, operating systems like Parrot Security OS and Kali Linux have become a vital cog in every ethical hacker's arsenal. With this tutorial, you will explore the much-debated topic of Parrot OS vs. Kali Linux and know a few pointers on which operating system is more likely to suit your workflow. 

Now, start this lesson on Parrot OS vs Kali by learning about Kali Linux from scratch.

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What Is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux, previously known as BackTrack Linux, is an open and free Linux-based operating system designed for sophisticated penetration testing and security audits. Kali Linux includes hundreds of tools for various information security tasks such as penetration testing, security research, digital forensics, and reverse engineering.

It is a cross-platform solution that is simple to use and free for information security professionals and enthusiasts. Debian has been a very trustworthy and stable distribution for many years, providing a solid foundation for the Kali Linux desktop.

Now, look at some of Kali Linux's most prominent features being offered to its customers.

Features of Kali Linux


  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.

With the basics of Kali Linux covered, you will now look at the newer operating system in the market and Kali Linux's direct competition, Parrot Security OS.

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What Is Parrot Security?

Parrot Security OS is a Linux (particularly Debian-based) operating system first released in 2013 for ethical hackers and penetration testers. Parrot OS may be thought of as a portable lab for a wide range of cyber security management ranging from pen testing to reverse programming and digital forensics. It also includes everything you need to protect your data and create your software.

Parrot OS is often updated and provides users with a wide range of hardened and sandboxing options. The utilities in the package are meant to work with most devices that use containerization technologies like Docker or Podman. Parrot OS is exceptionally light and runs surprisingly rapidly on all PCs, making it an excellent alternative for systems with old hardware or low resources.

It has a separate "Forensics Mode," which does not mount any of the platform's hard discs or volumes and has no effect on the host system, making it much more stealthy than its usual mode. On the host system, this mode is used to perform forensic procedures.

Features of Parrot Security


  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.

Now, you will directly compare features in this parrot OS vs Kali Linux tutorial in the next section.

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Parrot OS vs Kali Linux Direct Comparison

Kali Linux

Parrot Security

Requires at least 1 GB RAM

Requires 320 MB RAM minimum

Graphical acceleration needed

No graphical acceleration needed

Takes up to 20+ GB of storage

Storage used is 15 GB+

All basic tools pre-installed

Basic + extra tools pre-installed

Strong community support

Growing support community

More scalable on stronger hardware

Meant for under-powered systems first

Despite such unique offerings, every user will have a particular use case to which they need a definite answer. To know the right operating system for you, you will categorize each OS's user base in the next section.

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.


In this lesson, you learned about Kali Linux and its distinct features and followed by examining its direct competitor in parrot security os. With both Kali Linux and parrot security OS at the helm, budding ethical hackers and penetration testers have a lot of scope in their learning path. Beyond the choice of an operating system, learning the intricacies of such software and tools are arguably more crucial for a complete preparatory curriculum.

Simplilearn provides a PCP in Cyber Security course that covers all of the topics required by novices and seasoned professionals in the ethical hacking field. Major subjects like network probing, enumeration, and vulnerability assessment are presented in order to prepare students for their interviews and subsequent corporate job roles. With the IT sector in desperate need of qualified cybersecurity workers, there has never been a better moment to take your first step into ethical hacking.

Do you have any queries for us regarding this tutorial on parrot os vs Kali Linux? Please let us know your thoughts and questions in the comment section below, and we will get back to you with an answer.

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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