Kaisen Linux | Forum

Why I choose Kaisen over Kali and Parrot

This review started as a reply to:

related to that discussion: it is possible to have btrfs encrypted.

But after few hours of digging and poking Parrot and Kaisen; I decided that feedback should receive a better title and classification; so here we are.


I use and manage Linux server and workstation since the '90, but that don’t mean I know everything. Like every review, this is not totally objective for few points:

  • While I did my CEH and lived in Switzerland for I while I used a lot Kali which let me down few times
  • While Italian OS are remarkable (I’m thinking about Nethserver and Parrot), I’m a French Canadian who will move soon in France, so believe it or not, that probably tint my choice.

well now you know, let’s review it …

For now, I chose Kaisen over Kali and continue to debate between Kaisen and Parrot Security Edition.

Both are a VM under Proxmox with the same caracteristics and the same Desktop (KDE)

  • 2 vCPU with 8 GiB of RAM
  • 80 GiB of storage (on the same NVM)

Kali is out

  • Don’t propose Btrfs by default (I’m aware that one is a flamzy argument)
  • Because it has no backup plan (timeshift, snappy) to roll back out of the box, which is bad when you are based on a rolling distro. It happened few times on the past where my machine stalled, and I had to reinstall and restore my data.

Pro Parrot

  • Easy Full Encryption during the installation (as you explained Why (Calamares and Grub))
  • Privacy apps like Tor and i2p
  • Out of the box, Parrot use a little 150MiB less of RAM (mainly because of conky)
  • PenTesting apps, but wait, it is possible to have these in a Docker, so …
  • Key Manager out of the box: GPA, but no Kleopatra :frowning:

Why Kaisen over Parrot

  • Backup Plan against system error with timeshift and snappy out of the box
  • DevOps apps



both scored little higher than a vanilla Debian/Ubuntu (around: 59). The point here is based on DistroWatch; Parrot is a Security Distro, so, well, Parrot is a little deceptive.

  • Kaisen : performed 270 tests and scored 65 (hardening index)
  • Parrot: performed 263 tests and scored 63 (hardening index)


both have a substantial number of profile (Kaisen 58 vs Parrot 56)

  • Kaisen enforced 39 profiles
  • Parrot enforced 36 profiles

So again, the non Security Distro is technically more secure.


Screen Locking

To make a transition between Security and Appearance, again, it is interesting that Parrot Teams considers that 20 minutes it is short enough to consider your session safe.

Windows Ergonomic

I’ll probably make people laugh about this one but Kaisen kept the default Titlebar Button Scheme from KDE Windows Decoration. (I don’t get the point of having your Window button on the left side because if you use them, you are frankly a user who doesn’t have the habit of using keyboard shortcut and so, your mouse is highly probably 80% of the time on the right side of the screen to scroll and so, … (you most likely got the point … ergonomically Kaisen save people few mouse miles per year.)

Menu ?

  • Parrot have no menu button in KDE, this is sad and make me feel that nobody test it or even worst using it, since nobody raised that as an issue.

Clean choice of Apps

While this, like the Windows Ergonomic, totally personal and fully debatable, I just don’t understand why a Distro have to install 5 different apps to do the same job; for example the Development Category

  • Kaisen: only VSCodium
  • Parrot:
    • VSCodium and Geany (which if you are a user of it (I was in 2004) you probably know how to install it).
      but also
    • bored Board Games ?? So, what, we could play Chess while we wait between 2 Tor nodes.
    • 2 shortcuts for Firefox ?? Perhaps they should clean the menu.

Worth to mention:

  • $SHELL
    • Kaisen use zsh for user but bash for the root user
    • Parrot use bash for everybody
  • Cryptography app: both have zulu

What is Next ?

The next step is to use Kaisen as main OS aka passing through the GPU on the VM.

Thanks for the great feedback!

I do have something to point out though that I feel strongly about, because I honestly don’t think this is understood by anyone and it’s frustrating for me.

You have to stop comparing Kaisen with pentesting distributions. The objectives are not the same.
Kaisen is a distribution for SYSADMINS, it is not intended for use in offensive security like Kali and Parrot.


It is not necessary in my case to add several text editors because Codium is just there to help with scripting, and is not intended to provide several tools for developers.

Concerning snapshots, Kali does it now, and BTRFS can be chosen at installation, just like on Kaisen, something else than BTRFS can be chosen and used.

Please, stop comparing Kaisen to Kali and Parrot, it will never be the same and that’s normal, whether it’s about ergonomics, menus, tools or anything else you want, even development choices.

I still thank you for the time you took to write this feedback which is interesting anyway, but again, don’t try to compare Kaisen to Kali or Parrot.

I get frustrated when I read that. I have been working on this project for 3 years and have detailed hundreds of times the goals of this project which is to provide all the necessary work for beginners and advanced sysadmins and computer technicians. To see it compared to Kali or Parrot is annoying, knowing that it is written everywhere that it is NOT a PENTEST distribution.

Hi Kevin;

I understand your frustration, maybe even more so then Kaisen is not a Pentesting Distro, which I also understand and probably under express during my “comparison”, which, at the end is more an evolution of which Linux Distro I’ll use and a pale why then a comparison.

Yes, it could be frustrating when we put a lot of energy in a project, and we feel that users, specially new user like me, didn’t take the time to read the history and jump in the ring with their judgment.

For me Kaisen, Kali and Parrot are similar in a sense they are all based on Debian Testing, proposed several tools to manage/secure system and networks, and sorry to say that but before Kaisen arrive on the market; aside of Finnix, distro like Kali and Parrot where the nearest distro to use to do that; this is potentially why you receive quite often that comparative.

At DistroWatch, Kaisen fall under Data Rescue and Specialist; in Data Rescue you have Finnix, which a distribution for system administrators, based on Debian but if you never eared about it, I don’t blame you.
While maybe, you would prefer comparative of Kaisen with OpenSUSE which tag themselves as a “the makers’ choice for sysadmins” or not being compared at all, but comparing is a part is in the human nature like the good and the bad, the ugly and the beauty.

To comes back to why I’ll stick around a little, yes I’m a Distro Jumper, this is precisely the why of you create that Distro, and I already mentioned

Don’t worry about me, the fact you choose Codium over VSCode showed you care about Licensing and the Community and yes,

Yes, this is why I am aware of that, this is why I mention default and said it was a flamzy argument; at the end every Linux support btrFS, but it is not necessary their default focus and so that could lead to miss/non configuration from the team development and a lack of support.

In any case, continue your work and keep your focus, it is very useful, and it is a good one.

Hello Jonathan,

There is no problem to be compared to Kali or Parrot, I even find it flattering in a way to be compared to these two behemoths among the specialized distributions.

What bothers me is that many people want pentest tools and ask for anything and everything related to pentest on Kaisen… Which is quite frustrating for me on this point of view, on the rest whether you compare Kaisen to other distributions, you will be neither the first nor the last :wink:

Concerning VSCodium, yes I make sure that every integrated tool respects as much as possible the privacy of the users and the GPL (which is not always applicable, especially drooling wifi drivers).

I’m glad though especially for you and other people that Kaisen fits better to your need. It was developed for system administrators :wink:

Aha, yes I remember Finnix, it was precisely this distribution and others that pushed me to create Kaisen as well. I wanted to create a more complete tool on the tools offered (indeed especially Cloud and DevOps tools), as well as on the features brought with and integration of the tools, and the care brought to the UI (especially the menus by the way, it’s an important element of this distribution).

Thank you sincerely for your encouragement in any case and your feedback, although I had not understood the original intention and I apologize, I thank you for this detailed feedback.

Don’t hesitate if needed!

After though, I think the title should be Why I choose Kaisen over Kali and Parrot, but I can’t change it.

These people should define more their need :wink:
at the end, Kali could run as a Container

I changed the title of the topic :wink: