Kali Linux is an enterprise-ready security auditing Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. Kali is aimed at security professionals and IT administrators, enabling them to conduct advanced penetration testing, forensic analysis, and security auditing.

What is a Linux distribution?

Although it is commonly used as a name for the entire operating system, Linux is just the name of the kernel, a piece of software that handles interactions between the hardware and end-user applications.

The expression Linux distribution, on the other hand, refers to a complete operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, usually including an installation program and many applications, which are either pre-installed or packaged in an easily installable way.

Debian GNU/Linux is a leading generic Linux distribution, known for its quality and stability. Kali Linux builds on the work of the Debian project and adds over 300 special-purpose packages of its own, all related to information security, particularly the field of penetration testing.

Debian is a free software project providing multiple versions of its operating system and we often use the term distribution to refer to a specific version of it, for example the Debian Stable or Debian Testing distributions. The same also applies to Kali Linux—with the Kali Rolling distribution, for example.