Kali Linux non-root and no pen-test tools install w/ screenshots

Originally published at: https://linuxblog.io/kali-linux-non-root-install-screenshots/

Update: Thankfully, as of release 2020.1, Kali Linux has swapped to a privileged non-root user by default. You will now log in with the user you create during the install process and no longer as root. This means you can now accomplish my recommended setup (a stable non-root Debian-testing rolling release, managed by the Kali…


Good work!

This is really solid and easy to follow thumbs up
As a kali user(from 2017 ish) i think this is a great guide for someone who is interested and not into pentesting but just want to test out the distro:)
Running root can be dangerous then so this answers many questions that people have on how to run without root account :slight_smile:

Thanks. Going to join you with Kali shortly. Yes, I don’t need or use the pen test tools either.

My main grab is being able to have a rolling release of Debian testing and not have to manage it myself because Kali team does all that for you. So you end up with a very stable distro that’s bleeding edge.

Stable and bleeding edge are incompatible. What gives? I am curious to know where they’re drawing the line between the two.

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Good question. I have to be careful with the word “stable”. :grin: Because Kali Linux is a distro, I wouldn’t recommend for new or even casual Linux users.

Debian Testing - on which Kali is based - is also known as Debian next-stable. Which indeed does not imply stable; but close to it. There’s also Debian Unstable.

I would say Kali Linux has been stable in my experience with it because Kali does not try to mess with or change too much. They pass on packages as-is for the most part and what they do change is usually related to resolving bugs so that Kali works.

With Kali, user experience will largely depend on… the user’s experience. So me referring to Kali as Stable so generally, may be a tad misleading to some users.

Before installing Kali, one should read this.

As for Stability (Debian Stable vs Testing vs Unstable) - Debian’s website puts it nicely:

End users should generally choose to run either stable or testing. Stable is recommended for applications requiring production-level stability and security (servers, firewalls etc.) and is also recommended for those who are new to Linux. Testing is recommended for advanced users who want new software on their desktops and who are capable of reporting and fixing bugs to help Debian.

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Thanks for the thorough answer, hydn. Way more than I expected, and very much appreciated, especially the link to “Should I use Kali?”. I laughed when I read

" Trying to install Steam on your Kali Linux desktop is an experiment that will not end well."

Besides the laugh, It gives a good overview of what Kali is about.

Not for me now, but I’m glad to know it’s there if needed.

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I have read a lot of comments about Kali tendency to break after upgrades but I run my Kali daily for more than a year now without problems. I had problems when I started using it only because I didn’t know how to manage Python environments and because I was installing/reinstalling anything because I didn’t know what I needed (studying cybersecurity for 1 year now).
Thanks for your text, It confirms that Kali can be a viable option for daily usage. I am planning to build a home lab for training networking and web development. I’m thinking about changing for a new distro but I am also thinking of doing exactly what you did, a fresh OS install without anything at first. And only install packages when needed.

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Agreed! I’ve also been running Kali systems for many years without issue. I’m drawn to the rolling release format as a former long-time Arch Linux user.

In my Home Lab I have Ubuntu LTS 16.04 and 18.04 that I need to upgrade. This is an issue I wouldn’t face with Kali Linux and some good ole’ unattended updates.