I'm new to security issues and I am considering buying a course at ELearningSec (beginners course,of course). I am planning to work in a company and want to learn about offensive and defensive skills to improve the company and myself, and I would like to know:

  • Is Kali better than Backtrack for Pen test and web exploit ?
  • If I learn in Backtrack can i apply the knowledge to Kali easily?
  • Arch linux is a good place to go when you are comfortable with your tools. It requires more system knowledge but you can get away from what is "backtrack" and into what is your stack and tools. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 17:37
  • Arch Linux is recommended for Pen test too ? Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 18:02
  • Arch Linux is an excellent distro to use to increase your knowledge of Linux systems, because it requires a lot of setup, and is backed up by extensive documentation. If you were looking for a hobby project to work on, it's especially good.
    – Owen
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 15:39
  • There is an unofficial project that provides pentesting tools for Arch Linux (disclaimer: I am its primary maintainer): blackarch.org and github.com/BlackArch/blackarch
    – user22208
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 23:38

5 Answers 5


Backtrack will be fine for learning, especially if the course is geared towards it (which I get the impression it may be?) Kali is better in the long run, because it installs, so you can customise it more easily on a machine/VM.

Overall though, I'd advise really learning your stuff with Backtrack/Kali/Combination of the two, and then 'graduating' to putting together your own system in a distro of your choice. Like is mentioned in the comments, Arch is good, although it takes a while to set up.

I prepared my Pentest box by working with Backtrack, then setting up an Arch VM adding what I needed, and it works nicely.

  • Nice, i will be trying this, do you know the elearnsecurity.com ? How can I put 'together' the Linuxs? Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 18:04
  • I don't know elearnsecurity no, but looking at the syllabus, mostly they're using tools included with Kali, BackTrack and probably the other Pentesting distros. By putting together a system, I just mean installing a version of linux that you would like to work with (lots of different opinions on which is best!) and adding the tools you want to use for pentesting. That way you end up with a personalised system, and you can change things around to suit yourself.
    – Owen
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 12:23

Apart from what Mantis says, during OSCP you are advised to use Backtrack because there are some differences between Kali and BackTrack in regards to exploit development and debugging (specifically for OSCP).

Kali and BackTrack are practically the same, Kali is organized just a bit better imo.

  • ty for additional info ! Will try to see that Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 18:06

Kali Linux is the successor of Backtrack Linux (http://www.kali.org/)

So I guess the answer to both of your questions would be "Yes". There are a few differences between the two distros, however, they are very negligible to someone who doesn't understand Linux too much.

For example, everything on Kali is accessible from the comfort of the command line, rather than going to /pentest/[Package Name]/

Other than that (and some performance benefits) they are essentially the same.

  • Ty for answer @DarkMantis, i tried backtrack, and it's hard to understand from begginer's view hehe ... i installed UbUntU to get familiarized with Linux Stuff, and then when get good(not yet) i move to backtrack to pen test and use Kali as final system....I see Kali is ~better~ than Backtrack Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 17:10

Kali is just a re-branding of Backtrack, so you're probably better off going with Kali as it's newer. That being said, you'd be just fine using one of the more recent versions of Backtrack.

  • Yea i think they will be using Backtrack 5 r so its ok .. ty Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 18:26

Kali is Debian based, Backtrack is Ubuntu based. (Both Debian but Ubuntu is now almost a different branch). Kali is well organised, but BT got more documentation. Kali succeeds BT. If you're Ubuntu user, try BT first. BTW I didn't get the point why some people here taking about Arch Linux. Arch is not a pentest distro and it's too advanced for newbies to port.

  • There is no reason that Arch is not a pentest distro, just customize it, that's what Linux is good at. Any distro can be used for pentesting. I currently run a pure Debian server as a web/resource server with an Arch server as an RPC and pentest server.
    – DarkMantis
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 14:57

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