Over the course of studying various operating systems and security distributions I was admittedly late to trying Parrot Security, and am only now tinkering with it in a virtual box environment. Based on Debian Jessie 9 with a Mate desktop, Parrot OS had my expectations “mixed” and with good reason. Kali Linux is also Debian based and while both operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages. In this instance the anonymity tools were of course not tested as the host system always dictates the ability of an OS to surf anonymously.
Out of the box tools and presentation: 4.5 out of 5
This distro has a wonderful tool set (well over 700 tools) and presents it exceedingly well. I’d have considered this a 5.0 except that in choosing a Mate desktop there are a few unexpected eyesores; The system monitor is embedded on one of two panels and the second panel seems to only facilitate the presentation of the shutdown feature but is otherwise identical to the other menu system. Between these two the presentation suffers a bit but is forgivable for the inclusion of the sleep inhibitor applet. (Avoidable altogether had they simply used Cinnamon.)
System Requirements: 5.0
This distro suggests a minimum of 256-512 Mb Ram and 8-16 Gb Hard Drive making it a low resource system on the surface. My findings were that while it would function well enough within this range a minimum of 512-1024 Mb should have been suggested for Ram, only because many of the tools including the browser put the system under significant strain at 256.
Mate isn’t for everyone, it’s somewhat sluggish and ugly compared to Cinnamon, but far nicer than Kali’s current Gnome. Mate is amazing on systems with lousy graphics cards and with these low requirements it makes this desktop a logical choice for older systems.
Kali users will feel right at home and Backbox users will love it. I’d like to compare it Deft but haven’t tried anything recent of theirs in spite of both of these being Italian systems.
Overall this is a promising distro and they offer a server type with no GUI for people who want to take their testing systems to the cloud, I can see it being a favorite of students and testers who deal with a wide variety of tasks.
It feels like a Debian system, the codecs and the non-branded software creep in alongside the odd menu layout. It just takes a bit of polishing to make this better though and we won’t overstate this point.
There is a tendency towards function over form but I was actually pleased to say this isn’t as ugly as some of the older systems that tried to walk down this road.
Overall 4.375 out of 5
I’d grant this one a regular spot in dual boot or a virtual machine (if you don’t require the anonymity.) I’d never suggest it as a primary operating system but honestly depending on your system specs you could do far worse. Be aware that installing guest additions on this OS will take some research which I simply haven’t done yet. If I find anything useful I’ll be sure to post it here.