The following questions are based on Kali Linux rolling distributions after 2016.01.

I have questions about the package flows and differences between Kali Linux and Debian:

  1. This Kali Linux Package Tracker page summarizes Kali Linux's divergence from the corresponding Debian version. I noticed reference to the "Version in Debian Testing". Does it mean that Kali forks the source code from the Debian stable version, and apply independent changes that are not synced with official Debian? Does "upstream version" refer to the Debian version?

  2. What happens if Debian itself was upgraded? For example, when it upgrades from 9 to 10? Should Kali's features developed based on Debian 9 be migrated to Debian 10? Or in other words, how does Kali keep rolling (major steps) during such upgrades in Debian?

1 Answer 1


The general relationship between Kali and Debian is described in Kali’s “relationship with Debian” policy.

  1. The “upstream version” is the version available in Debian testing. Kali is based on Debian testing, not stable. The versions in Kali and Debian can diverge for a number of reasons: the Kali package is lagging behind Debian; a newer version of the package was pulled in to Kali from another Debian suite (unstable or experimental); or Kali forked the package and made Kali-specific changes to it.

  2. Since Kali is based on Debian testing, which is also a rolling distribution, there is no release to worry about. Kali gets updated packages from Debian independently of Debian releases.

  • 2
    i read the link. it is clear. what your 2nd point means? if Debian upgrades into a new major version, does Kali needs to sync a series of old-version applications with the new Debian version?
    – TJCLK
    Sep 9, 2019 at 5:31
  • 3
    Debian testing is also a rolling release, so there are no major versions to worry about. Put another way, Kali gets updated packages from Debian independently of Debian releases. Sep 9, 2019 at 5:36

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