Both of these are Linux-based OS, and they both belong to the Debian family. But there is a fundamental difference between Kali Linux and Ubuntu. Ubuntu OS is a commendable option for everyone new to Linux. Kali Linux OS is only good for those users who have intermediate experience with using Linux. Let us get into their individual functionalities.

What is Ubuntu?

It is an operating system that is Linux-based and belongs to its Debian family. Since Ubuntu is Linux-based, it is open source, and the users can avail it for free. Mark Shuttleworth led a team known as the Canonical. They invented the Ubuntu OS (operating system).

Ubuntu is an African term that refers to humanity to others. This operating system’s Chinese version basically runs the fastest supercomputers in the world. As a matter of fact, the self-driving car from Google also uses Ubuntu’s stripped version.

Flavors of Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu Server Addition
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Edubuntu is a version of Ubuntu designed specifically for educational reasons.
  • Kubuntu employs KDE (Kool Desktop environment) as the primary GUI environment
  • Xubuntu, which is used when computing capacity is limited.
  • JeOS (just enough operating system) is appropriate for virtual applications.

Features of Ubuntu

No Antivirus Software
In other operating systems, antivirus software is often installed to safeguard your machine from malicious actions. However, no additional software is required for protection on Ubuntu. It contains built-in safeguards to keep your data safe. It has features that assure data security.

Several Variants
It has many variants that can be used for different use cases.

  • Ubuntu Server Addition
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Edubuntu
  • Kubuntu
  • Xubuntu
  • JeOS (just enough OS)

Release Cycle
The release cycle of Ubuntu is 6 months with the Long Term Support (LTS) cycle being 2 years. This ensures that the bugs are resolved faster with upcoming updates.

Privacy and Security
Ubuntu is an operating system that allows numerous users to interact. It is feasible for several people to operate on the same computer at the same time. However, unless the superuser provides permission, a user cannot view the data of another user. Because an organization may have users with varied roles and not everyone should have all of the permissions, this is one of the most significant components for an organization when working on the same system.

Free and Open Source
Ubuntu is an operating system that is both free and open source. This is beneficial since there may be a large number of unique ideas that may be put into the source codes. Because users may post issues on GitHub, which contributors can swiftly solve, open source also aids in the quick resolution of bugs. Because Ubuntu is open source, developers have built a plethora of versions that users may use based on their needs.

Multiple CPU Architecture Support
Ubuntu supports multiple CPU architectures, including Intel x86, AMD64, ARM, Power Servers, etc., which makes it suitable for a variety of devices.

Advantages of Ubuntu

  • Beginner Friendly.
  • Regular updates help resolve bugs faster.
  • Customizable according to use case.
  • Minimal Hardware requirements.
  • It ensures security and privacy.
  • It is free and open-source.


  • Not suitable for intensive workloads such as servers.
  • Cannot play video games with high graphics.
  • Major activities are completed via CLI, which is difficult for non-developers to operate
  • Most PCs do not have it installed by default.

What is Kali Linux?

It is an OS that is also Linux-based. Thus, it’s available for free to its users and is open source. Kali Linux also belongs to the Debian family. Offensive Security developed this OS.

Kali Linux was introduced in the market first in 2013 March. It aimed at being the replacement for the BackTrackOS. This OS always comes packed with hundreds of security research, penetration testing, reverse engineering, digital forensics, and ethical hacking tools.

Popular Tools Included in Kali Linux

WPScan, Zenmap, Hydra, Foremost, Volatility, VulnHub, Reverse engineering toolkit, Metasploit framework, Maltego, Nessus, Burp Suite, etc.

What We Can Do with Kali Linux

There are some useful and interesting operations that we can do using Kali Linux. If you are an ethical hacker or interested in ethical hacking, you will be finding the below section pretty interesting. Let’s discuss a few of the tools and their tasks:

A key component of Kali Linux, this tool is used to get information regarding security vulnerabilities. You can also use it for post-exploitation reasons.

THC Hydra
It is Password cracking software for cracking the password of a remote host or a server.

A graphical representation of Metasploit for attacking a server.

The Firewall Detection Utility

The Domain Information Digging tools count the number of server users.

A tool for launching Denial of Service (DoS) and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

A web crawler (Spidering)

A penetration testing tool is used to put Local File or Remote File Inclusion.

A tool for gathering information about distant hosts.

Abbreviation for Web Application Attack and Audit Framework, which is used to detect weaknesses in a website.

NMap and Netcat
These programs are used to discover open network ports.

Nikto Scanner
This tool is used to identify serious vulnerabilities in a website.

A tool for detecting weaknesses in a WordPress website.

Information is gathered by gathering inputs from a penetration tester.

Provides comprehensive information about a website.

Nslookup & Dig
A reconnaissance tool that provides precise information about a web server.

A packet analyzer is used to detect activities in a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), Internet Protocol (IP), IGRP, ICMP, and other protocols.

Intrusion Detection System

Features of Kali Linux

Privacy and Security
Kali Linux ensures that the users can operate the various tasks securely and privately in their own space. They cannot access the private data of other users without permission. This Kali Linux feature enables multiple people to work on the same machine. Kali Linux does not require any antivirus software to protect against virus attacks.

Secure Environment
The Kali Linux team is made up of a small number of people who contribute packages and communicate with the repository, all while utilizing several secure protocols.

Penetration Testing Tools
As discussed earlier, Kali Linux has a large number of tools that can be used for ethical hacking and penetration testing purposes.

Multiple Desktop Environment
Kali Linux uses the XFCE desktop environment by default; however, you can change them according to your needs.


  • There are over 600 penetration testing tools provided.
  • It is a free and open-source operating system.
  • Open source Git tree.
  • Compliant with FHS.
  • Wireless device compatibility is broad.
  • Custom kernel that has been patched for injection.
  • Created in a safe setting.
  • Packages and repositories signed using GPG.
  • Support for several languages.
  • It is completely customizable.
  • ARMEL and ARMHF assistance.


  • Cannot play high graphics games in Kali Linux.
  • Not suitable for novices due to advanced penetration testing tools available in it.
  • Not installed by default, in most machines.

Difference Between Ubuntu and Kali Linux

ParametersUbuntuKali Linux
DevelopersCanonical developed the Ubuntu OS.Offensive Security developed the Kali Linux OS.
Date of ReleaseThis OS was released initially on 20 Oct 2004.This OS was released initially on 13 March 2013.
Latest VersionIt was released in Mar 2020, and it has a by-default usage of the Gnome terminal.It got released in Feb 2020, and it has a by-default usage of the qterminal.
UsesWe can use Ubuntu on the servers or for daily use.Generally, ethical hackers or security researchers make use of Kali Linux for their security purposes.
Default UsageThe latest version of Ubuntu, by default, has the Gnome environment. But it also allows you to alter the same.The latest version of Kali Linux, by default, has the xfce environment. But it also allows you to alter the same.
Penetration Testing and Hacking ToolsThis OS does not come packed with any penetration testing or hacking tools.This OS always comes packed with various tools for penetration testing and hacking.
InterfaceThe interface of the Ubuntu OS is comparatively more user-friendly.The interface of the Kali Linux OS is comparatively very less user-friendly.
Beginner-FriendlyThis OS is a commendable option for all beginners who are new to Linux.This OS is only good for those users who have intermediate experience with using Linux.
Latest Default NamesThe latest live version of Ubuntu has a default name of the root.The latest live version of Kali Linux has a default username of the kali.
Latest Default PasswordThe latest live version of Ubuntu has a default password of (blank).The latest live version of Kali Linux has a default password, kali.
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