Building a Kali Linux KDE image

Well, the second major release of Kali 2 came out and we were told you could now have different desktop experiences! Instead of the clunky old Gnome interface:


you could use modern window managers like KDE:


or super-fast window managers like XFCE! Well, when I looked on the downloads page, there is not a download for KDE, sadly:


So, how do you use Kali Linux with KDE, then? If you use the regular/other builds, it’s not available in the dropdown on the login/greeter screen. After a little research, I found I have to build my own ISO. Hoy boy, that’s probably complexticated, right?

Well, the good news is, it’s quite easy. Follow the instructions from this page, and run (as root, from a directory, like ~/kali/):

# apt-get install curl git live-build cdebootstrap
# git clone git://
# cd live-build-config
# ./ –distribution kali-rolling –variant kde –verbose

and then, let your computer run for a while. On a low-powered laptop, this process took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. This will pull down everything it needs to build a custom, KDE-oriented .iso file – which you can then burn to a DVD or a USB thumb drive, which you can then use to install wherever you’d like. I did a blog post on how to do that from Linux. The .iso file will be in the ./images/ folder from where you last left off.

I’m not sure why they included specific downloads for Mate, XFCE, etc, but left off KDE. But above, is how you can fix that and run Kali with a KDE desktop experience.

With that said, after I did all of this, the installer detects an ethernet and wifi adapter, but after installation, the OS (and KDE) doesn’t see either NIC. So, there is still more work to do – but here’s how you can at least get started!

UPDATE: post-install, I needed to do a couple of things. First, is I added the following to /etc/network/interfaces:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

this will tell the OS to at least look for a device called eth0, which is the physical Ethernet NIC. You can do the same with “wlan0” too, but you’d need to specify the SSID and I’ve never been able to successfully configure that wpa_supplicant stuff. So, there’s no point – PLUS, the NetworkManager we are installing next, replaces the purpose of this file.

To bring up the network card, you can do a:

$ sudo ifup eth0

and hopefully you should get a DHCP address. Now, to support wireless, and now that you at least have a wired connection – install the following (this is only for KDE):

$ sudo apt-get install plasma-nm

this is the NetworkManager plug-in for the “plasma” window manager. I started from these Debian instructions, and then followed the links to the KDE-specific instructions. In essence, install “plasma-nm”, and then on main status bar, right-click, Add Widget, and search for Network, and drag that to your “system tray” area in the bottom right. You’ll now be able to browse and connect to WiFi networks.

Who knows why this isn’t enabled by default, but it’s an easy enough fix – and you only have to do this one, just after installation of the operating system.

Posted in Computers and Internet, General, Infrastructure, Linux, Security, Uncategorized

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