Changing the Kali Desktop Environment

Although Kali Linux uses Gnome for its default desktop environment, we recognize that not all users wish to use Gnome so we have made it simple to change to a WM of your choosing. To build your own Kali ISO image with a custom Desktop Environment, start by following the Live Build a Custom Kali ISO guide. Before building your ISO, edit the last section of config/package-lists/kali.list.chroot to contain the entries related to the desktop environment of your choice. The section starts with this comment:

# Graphical desktops depending on the architecture
#
# You can replace all the remaining lines with a list of the
# packages required to install your preferred graphical desktop
# or you can just comment everything except the packages of your
# preferred desktop.
kali-defaults
kali-root-login
desktop-base
kde-plasma-desktop

gnome-core
kali-defaults
kali-root-login
desktop-base

kali-defaults
kali-root-login
desktop-base
lxde

kali-defaults
kali-root-login
desktop-base
xfce4
xfce4-places-plugin

# cheers to 0xerror
xorg
dmenu
conky
i3

The “MATE” desktop is not included by default in our repositories, and requires a few more steps to integrate into a Kali build.
echo "deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/debian wheezy main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update
apt-get install mate-archive-keyring
# apt-get install git live-build cdebootstrap
# git clone git://git.kali.org/live-build-config.git
cd live-build-config
mkdir config/archives
echo "deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/debian wheezy main" > config/archives/mate.list.binary
echo "deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/debian wheezy main" > config/archives/mate.list.chroot
cp /usr/share/keyrings/mate-archive-keyring.gpg  config/archives/mate.key.binary
cp /usr/share/keyrings/mate-archive-keyring.gpg  config/archives/mate.key.chroot
echo "sleep 20" >> config/hooks/z_sleep.chroot
# add mate desktop to the packages list:
nano config/package-lists/kali.list.chroot
# after editing, it should look like this:
xorg
mate-archive-keyring
mate-core
mate-desktop-environment