Kali Linux is a penetration testing and security auditing distribution, it is not typically recommended to use it as an everyday workstation due to its focus on tools for ethical hacking and security assessments. It may have a limited set of common tools and applications that are typically found on a regular workstation operating system.
Yes it can, however, it’s important to note that Kali Linux is still a Linux system and it is not user friendly for people used to Windows or MacOS. It is possible to install a desktop environment and additional software to use it as a workstation, but it would require some additional setup and configuration.
Many people to use Linux operating systems as their primary OS but they are usually comfortable with it and the work that it takes to become proficient and familiar with the interface.
Some things that you should understand in Linux is that it is a manual system. Unlike Windows, Linux requires installation of many different software packages and features. For example, audio editing may require a few commands to install. But then you may need to install a type of software dependency or driver for it to function correctly.
Luckily, there are many programs and tools that you can use for regular use. For everyday tasks, there are several programs that you can use in Kali Linux for:
- File management: Nautilus (default file manager in Gnome), Dolphin (default file manager in KDE), Thunar (default file manager in Xfce)
- Text editing: nano, vim, gedit (default text editor in Gnome)
- Document writing: LibreOffice Writer, AbiWord, Google Docs (through web browser)
- Presentations: LibreOffice Impress, Google Slides (through web browser)
- Spreadsheets: LibreOffice Calc, Gnumeric, Google Sheets (through web browser)
- Video editing: OpenShot, Lightworks, Kdenlive
- Audio editing: Audacity, Ardour, LMMS
- Gaming: Steam, Lutris, PlayOnLinux
Note that these are just examples of popular programs for these tasks and there are other options available as well. Just do your research and you are sure to find alternative programs.
Like I have said before, you will need to configure certain functions manually. Mapping a printer or setting up a smart card isn’t a plug and play operation like Windows. Here are some common tasks you may need to perform, with their Linux instructions.
Setting up printing:
- For most printers, you can simply connect them to your computer and they should be automatically detected and configured by the operating system.
- If the printer is not automatically detected, you can use the “Printers” settings in the control panel to add a new printer and select the appropriate driver for your printer.
- You can also use the command-line tool “lpadmin” to set up and manage printers.
Setting up smart card certificates:
- Install the appropriate packages for your smart card (e.g. “opensc” and “pcsc-tools” for smart cards using the PC/SC standard).
- Configure your certificate authority (CA) settings in your web browser.
- Depending on your smart card and certificate, you may also need to configure PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) to use the smart card for authentication.
Setting up network adapters:
- Most network adapters should be automatically detected and configured by the operating system.
- You can use the command-line tool “ip” or the “Network” settings in the control panel to configure the network adapter’s settings (e.g. IP address, netmask, gateway, etc.).
Setting up hotspots:
- To create a hotspot, you will need to have a wireless adapter that supports “Access Point” mode.
- Use the command-line tool “hostapd” to configure the hotspot settings (e.g. SSID, password, etc.).
- Use the command-line tool “dnsmasq” to configure DHCP settings for the hotspot.
Setting up network drives:
- To mount a network drive, you will need to know the network path to the drive (e.g. “smb://server/share” for a Windows shared drive).
- Use the command-line tool “mount” to mount the drive.
- Use the command-line tool “fstab” to configure the system to automatically mount the drive at boot time.
Note that the above instructions are just general steps and the exact commands and procedures may vary depending on the distribution you are using. There are plenty of help articles to assist you with your tasks. Many others have had to do the same setup so there is sure to be troubleshooting steps.
Mastering the basic commands in Kali will help you to better manage the system, perform repetitive tasks, and understand the file system better. Here are some basic Linux commands that are useful for beginners :
- ls – Lists the files and directories in the current directory.
- cd – Changes the current directory.
- mkdir – Creates a new directory.
- touch – Creates a new file.
- rm – Removes a file or directory.
- cp – Copies a file or directory.
- mv – Moves or renames a file or directory.
- pwd – Prints the current working directory.
- man – Displays the manual for a command.
- sudo – Allows the user to run a command with superuser privileges.
Please note that some commands may have different behavior based on the distribution and version of Linux you are using. These commands are great for beginners and anyone who wants to use Linux as their primary operating system.
With the knowledge in this article, I am confident that you are well on your way to making Kali Linux your primary operating system. Just remember to use the security tools ethically and not illegally!