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Which on is the Best ParrotOS vs Kali Linux

Linux has been branded for its various distributions that provide to various needs. One of the most well-known distribution is Kali Linux, a penetration testing orientated OS. Since its announcement, Kali has gone through various repetitions in the form of updates while other penetration testing/ cybersecurity related distributions were also being developed around the world. In this post, we are going to compare Kali to one such distribution that has come under the attention, i.e. ParrotOS. Mastering either of these operating systems will gear you nearer to become certified cybersecurity professional.

Do you know about Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a penetration testing and security-attentive operating system. As the name suggests, Kali has a Linux kernel at its core. Above that, the creators of Kali, Mati Aharoni, and Deavon Kearns, also added the latest injection packages to help pen-testers save some time. Kali Linux is developed according to Debian development standards. It was developed as a refined pen-testing distro that would be served as a replacement for backtrackOS.

The what is ParrotOS?

ParrotOS, much similar Kali, is also a Debian based spreading of Linux. When I say Debian based, it means that the code repositories adhere to Debian development standards. ParrotOS too comes with its own arsenal of penetration testing and security-linked tools. Most of these tools are also available on Kali. ParrotOS was first out in 2013 and was advanced by a team of security experts, Linux enthusiasts, and open source developers. The team was headed by Lorenzo Faletra.

Metric of ParrotOS vs Kali Linux

Metric ParrotOS Kali Linux
Hardware Requirements Lightweight Not appropriate for older configuration
Look & Feel All sorts of tools installed Easy to get lost, if you’re new
Hacking Tools More tools than Kali Lacks anonymity and crypto tools
Variations Diverse variation Not much variation
Better for Beginners Forgiving and easy going Aggressive environment for beginners

ParrotOS vs Kali Linux

Now comparing two operating systems, when both are meant for the same purpose, i.e. penetration testing. Most of the factors in such cases boils down to a matter of personal taste rather than an objective comparison. Now, before we start comparing ParrotOS vs Kali Linux, let me list out the similarities between the two operating systems.

Resemblances Between ParrotOS and Kali Linux

  • They have support for embedded and IoT devices
  • Come pre-installed with an arsenal of hacking tools
  • Operating systems are tuned for penetration testing
  • Support 32 and 64-bit architecture
  • Both operating systems support cloud VPS
  • Based on Debian development standards

Hardware requirement ParrotOS and Kali Linux

Parrot OS Kali 
No Graphical Acceleration Required Graphical Acceleration Required
320mb RAM 1GB RAM
1GHZ dual-core CPU 1GHZ dual-core CPU
Can boot in legacy and UEFI Can boot in legacy and UEFI
16GB of hard disk space 20GB of hard disk space

We see that ParrotOS definitely wins against Kali Linux when it comes to hardware requirements due to its trivial nature. Not only does it require lesser RAM to function properly, but the full installation is also pretty trivial; thanks to the use of the Matte-Desktop-Environment by the developers. If you have an older hardware configuration, ParrotOS should definitely be your choice.

ParrotOS vs Kali Linux: Variations

Both operating systems come with a variety of variations, but ParrotOS has much more in terms of variety. Below is a table of the variations in both OS.

Parrot OS  Kali 
Parrot Sec OS Full Edition Kali Full Edition
Parrot Sec OS Lite Edition Kali Lite Edition
Parrot Sec OS Air Edition Kali Desktop Variation (e17/KDE/Xfce)
Parrot Sec OS Studio Edition Kali armhf/armel (IoT devices)

Parrot has some various features with a release attentive on wireless penetration testing (air) and one that is tuned for multimedia content creation (studio). Other than that, it also has releases that have cloud support and support for IoT devices. Kali gives the basic full and lite edition along with custom desktop interfaces(e17/KDE/Matter/LXDE). Kali also has support for cloud and IoT devices.

ParrotOS vs Kali Linux: Which One is Better for Beginners?

Which of these two distributions is better for beginners. Well, it is to be duly renowned that both these distributions are not exactly meant for beginners. If you want to learn about Linux as an operating system, you’re better off using something like Ubuntu. This also doesn’t mean that you cannot learn the basics on ParrotOS or Kali.

On the other pointer, if you already know the basics of Linux and want to get your hands on an operating system to learn ethical hacking, I’d personally recommend using the ParrotOS Sec OS Light. The light version comes with the bare minimum of networking tools. This means, as you learn your ethical hacking concepts slowly, you could develop/install tools one by one instead of being overcome with a whole bunch of them from the beginning. Not only does this allow yourself to evolve as an ethical hacker and penetration tester but it also makes sure your basics are built in a methodical method.


I recommend ParrotOS over Kali for one other reason too. The default user for Kali is root. This makes the environment a whole lot more aggressive, and mistakes tend to be a whole more difficult to deal with. Overall, when it comes to ParrotOS vs Kali Linux, Out team personally prefer ParrotOS.

This brings us to the end of this “ParrotOS vs Kali Linux” article. This is one of the blogs in a long list of ethical hacking blogs that I have published. For more information regarding cybersecurity, you could check out my other blogs. If you have any doubts or queries regarding this particular article, leave a comment in the comments section below!

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