How to Switch Kali Linux Branches in sources.list
Let’s first understand the meaning and significance of Branches, that is, for those of you who don’t already know. If you know you know, then feel comfortable to skip directly to the Terminal commands to switch Kali Branches.
Kali Linux Branch is a varying version of certain Kali Linux OS software. What this means is that selecting a certain branch will have versions of certain Kali software that are more or less up-to-date than a variant branch.
The significance of branches is to create flexibility for Kali users, such that it is up to them to decide which version (currency) of a Kali software they will use, corresponding to the Kali Linux branch they have chosen to use.
Kali OS has multiple branches available to its users. These multiple branches can be grouped into “Main“, “Special Cases” &&”Development“.
In this article, I will discuss about switching to all the Kali Linux Branches via Terminal (of course!)
To switch Kali Linux OS “Main” Branches on Terminal, type in the following commands as-is for the respective branches;
1. “kali-last-snapshot” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-last-snapshot main non-free contrib' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list
2. “kali-rolling” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling main non-free contrib' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list
NOTE:: The above two commands is what you would probably use under normal circumstances as they are the stable options. The branches from the other two groupings can only be classified as unstable or highly unstable!
NOTE:: Among the two “Main” Kali Branch options, the first command consisting of “kali-last-snapshot” is what I’d recommend for use, if you are after the Safest&& Most Stable Branch, while the latter is what I’d recommend if you are after using up-to-date, stable versions of Kali software.
The “Special Cases” Branches are; “kali-experimental” and “kali-bleeding-edge“. They are referred to as special cases because they are only used in rare scenarios!
To switch to “Special Cases” Branches, open Terminal and enter the following commands, corresponding to the chosen branch;
1. “kali-experimental” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-experimental main non-free contrib' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
2. “kali-bleeding-edge” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-bleeding-edge main non-free contrib' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
The “Development” Branches are; “kali-dev“, “kali-dev-only” && “kali-rolling-only“
To switch to “Development” Branches, open Terminal and enter the following commands, corresponding to the chosen branch;
1. “kali-dev” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-dev main non-free contrib' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
2. “kali-dev-only” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-dev-only main non-free contrib' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
3. “kali-rolling-only” branch
echo 'deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-rolling-only main non-free contrib' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
sources.list format && explanation
If you don’t already know what all the different sections of the Branch commands represent and mean, then read on to gain full understanding of what is referred to as “sources.list format”
If you are curious where the branch configuration commands are stored, check your PC in the location:
This is the file that stores the branch command you to enter. The file is still existent on your Kali machine by default with the default branch in the file specified as “kali-rolling“.
Now to analysis of the sources.list format, let’s take the very first branch command in this article;
deb http://http.kali.org/kali kali-last-snapshot main non-free contrib
We will divide the above into four(4) sections;
“deb” — Archive (which could be “deb” for Regular Binary or “deb-src” for Source)
“http://http.kali.org/kali” — Mirror (which directs you to the best mirro depending on various factors like Region)
“kali-last-snapshot” — Branch (which is what we were discussing earlier, in the beginning of the article)
“main non-free contrib” — Component (which specifies the packages to be used, where in this case are the defaults that Kali specifies from a set of guidelines by Debian, and that should not give you a headache, but instead should be keyed in as-is!)
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