Kali 2020.3 🐲: terminal changes and lots of new icons!

kali 2020.3 preview

Kali 2020.3 is out! 🎉️🎉️

Just like for previous releases, here I want to show a more in-depth view of the visual and aesthetic modifications that come with it. If you want to read more about all the new changes, don't forget to visit the release post:

kali.org / Kali Linux 2020.3 Release

A quick summary of what’s new:

  • New Shell - Starting the process to switch from "Bash" to "ZSH"
  • The release of "Win-Kex" - Get ready WSL2
  • Automating HiDPI support - Easy switching mode
  • Tool Icons - Every default tool now has its own unique icon
  • Bluetooth Arsenal - New set of tools for Kali NetHunter
  • Nokia Support - New devices for Kali NetHunter
  • Setup Process - No more missing network repositories and quicker installs

Terminal improvements

One of the most exciting changes for this release is the introduction of the zsh shell. Zsh shares many similarities with bash, but it also adds some extra features that will highly improve your performance with the terminal. One of the key advantages of this shell is its customization capabilities, supported by the abundance of plugins and an awesome community.

Demo for kali 2020.3 zsh shell

Zsh is not enabled as Kali's default shell yet, as we wanted the users to test it first. If you desire to give it a try, you only need to type zsh in your terminal. You can also make it your default shell with the following commands:

chsh -s /usr/bin/zsh # set zsh for the user
sudo chsh -s /usr/bin/zsh # set zsh for root

In case you are updating Kali from a previous installation, you won't see these changes unless you copy the required files manually (otherwise updates could overwrite user's configurations):

cp -r /etc/skel/. ~ # copy files for the user
sudo cp -r /etc/skel/. /root # copy files for root

Other terminal changes that you'll see in both zsh and bash are:

  • Colored commands:
    • ip
    • diff
    • grep/egrep/fgrep
  • Colored man pages
  • Bash prompt is now blue for the regular users

Now that Kali comes with zsh by default, if you want to further customize your terminal I can highly recommend you to read this post:

drasite.com/blog/Pimp my terminal

Colored terminal commands

HiDPI mode

Configuring the DE for HiDPI displays on Linux has highly improved over the years, but sometimes the provided settings only work with the desktop's preferred interface library. For example, Xfce (now Kali's default environment) supports window scaling for all GTK applications without issue, but this is not enough for this distribution. Kali comes with lots of different tools, therefore you can find apps based on GTK, Qt, and even Java, thus configuring all of them can become a nightmare.

To make this process more straight forward Kali now includes a 'HiDPI mode' which will modify all the required settings for you with just a click. The app is available in the apps-menu or by executing kali-hidpi-mode in the terminal, and it's able to toggle this mode without the need for restarting.

Kali 2020.3 HiDPI mode demo

Added / Updated icons

Another big improvement coming with Kali 2020.3 is the inclusion of custom icons for all applications that come with the default installation (all apps provided by `kali-linux-default`).

Theme improvements

New theme for Nautilus

Nautilus new dark theme for Kali 2020.3 Nautilus new light theme for Kali 2020.3

New theme for Xfce's menu (whiskermenu)

Having to design that many app icons, I've been carefully looking at Xfce's menu way too much time! Because of that, I couldn't resist doing some tweaking to it. The changes are small, but they are noticeable when you compare it with the old theme. The new changes are: removed box-like wrapper with a separator border, better background, more visible and rounded search-entry, and an improved menu-icon.

New theme for Gnome System Monitor

With the introduction of the new theme, Gnome's system-monitor, wasn't looking that great. The program was still using its own color-palette to draw the charts, and this made it look old. Now, having it configured to use Kali's color-palette this program can perfectly be one of these cool apps to show in your screenshots 😎️

Improved editor color-schemes

The new code color-scheme was introduced with Kali 2019.4, and while it worked fine with most languages, for others it showed way too much green color. The new color-scheme provides a more balanced theme while still maintaining the same color-palette.

Dark color-scheme

Light color-scheme

Other gtk3 theme improvements

Improved sidebar + headerbar design

Improved visibility for text entries

This is really a subtle modification, that is barely noticeable with just an image comparison, but it highly improves the overall look of the theme. While most of the widgets were designed with depth and volume, the text entries looked plain and sometimes were even hard to differentiate.

The new theme adds shadows to this type of widgets and makes their background easier to recognize. The theme now looks more consistent and follows some of the new 'neumorphism' trends without losing its functionality.

gtk3 dark theme text entry design comparison gtk3 light theme text entry design comparison


Kali Linux Dragon logo

Kali Linux themes

Flat Remix cover

Flat Remix ICON theme

Flat Remix GNOME theme

Flat Remix GNOME theme

Flat Remix GTK theme

Flat Remix GTK theme



Skeuos GTK theme

Skeuos GTK theme

Flat Remix css library

Flat Remix CSS Library

Skeuos CSS Library

Skeuos CSS Library

Flat Remix KDE themes

Flat Remix KDE themes

Color Fixer logo

Color Fixer

Neural network with genetic algorithms in Unity3d

Neural network with genetic algorithms

Tetяis JS

Tetяis JS

Ethenis Framework logo

Ethenis Framework

Linux From Scratch

Linux From Scratch

Linux From Scratch

Mazda MX5 ND2 for Assetto Corsa

GNOME 4X themes

GNOME 4X themes

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