Exodia OS: Emerging BSPWM-based Arch Linux for Pentesters

4 min


Meet Exodia OS, an Arch-Linux-based distribution in the making, for general and advanced usage. Here’s a first look.

Exodia OS home edition
Exodia OS home edition

Exodia OS: First Look

A small team of Arch Linux enthusiasts from Egypt is developing Exodia OS based on BSP window manager (BSPWM). The primary use case of this distribution is to be a perfect distro for wire & wireless penetration testing by providing all the necessary tools by default (similar to Kali Linux).

Exodia OS currently features three editions. The “wireless” edition brings 400+ pre-installed tools for both wire and wireless pen-testers.

The “home” edition is primarily for daily use and general users. It features all the basic tools and apps for your general use.

And finally, a third edition called the “predator” edition, specially designed for Acer Predator series Laptops.

Installation and first impression

For this quick review, I did a test run in Virtualbox virtual machine with the “home” edition.

The installation was pretty smooth with the Calamares installer. No surprise there. Because a well-customized Calamares hardly fails. After a successful boot, you get a nice login screen with a custom lightdm theme.

Exodia-OS login screen - home edition
Exodia OS login screen – home edition

In my personal opinion, all the window manager looks way better than desktop environments. And fast too. At its core, Exodia OS uses the BSPWM tiling window manager with custom themes preloaded. There are a total of 16 cool themes pre-loaded, which you can apply via theme chooser (CTRL+ALT+T).

Default BSPWM themes
Default BSPWM themes

BSPWM and themes

The 16 themes are combined with the context menu jgmenu and rofi launcher. When you change the theme, Exodia OS also changes the underlying rofi launcher and themes.

The jgmenu is super productive with runtime search for applications and settings – which really saves time. In addition, you can browse thru the list of well-categorised apps. Furthermore, jgmneu is completely keyboard-driven, saving your workflow more time.

Dynamic search in jgmenu
Dynamic search in jgmenu
Rofi laucnher theme selector
Rofi laucnher theme selector
jgmenu looks stunning in BSPWM
jgmenu looks stunning in BSPWM with polybar at the top

Among all the themes, the top bar (which is polybar) is pre-selected with all the necessary items. And it’s clickable. The list of items which are available in the top bar:

  • Intelligent workspace switcher by app shortcuts
  • Main menu launcher (jgmenu)
  • Internet connection status (upload, download and network)
  • Battery status, processor

If you are playing music, a small section shows the artist’s name and playing controls.

Also, you can see the update notifications.

Furthermore, Exodia OS is configured to use tiling and floating windows while tiling. You can switch between them with keyboard combinations.

Exodia OS with Tiling in BSPWM
Exodia OS with Tiling in BSPWM

On another note, you can easily custom-make an awesome-looking Arch Linux box for yourself with jgmenu, dmenu, polybar and rofi!

Applications and sources

The home edition is loaded with the application by default. This might be why an Arch distro’s ISO size is slightly over 3GB. However, most of the necessary apps are already installed. If you are a new user, you don’t need to go over the hassles of installing all those apps.

Here’s a summary for the home edition:

  • Firefox web browser
  • Thunar file manager
  • Alacritty terminal
  • Nitrogen wallpaper chooser
  • Vim, Leafpad and Geany text editor
  • GParted partition manager
  • Timeshift backup tool
  • Additional mix of GNOME and Xfce apps

However, LibreOffice and the desktop email client are not installed.

Furthermore, the “wireless” edition includes more applications in addition to the above list. Those are primarily for penetration testing.

And the “predator” edition features special utilities such as PredatorSense to control CPU/GPU fans and the Keybaord RGB colour of these high-end Acer predator laptops.

Exodia OS features a set of cool anime-flavoured wallpaper to beautify your Arch Linux further.

Performance

Exodia OS consumes around 875 MB of memory at idle, and the CPU is at 7% average for all cores. And it may go higher from this baseline as you start launching for applications.

Exodia OS - performance (idle)
Exodia OS – performance (idle)

Most of the resources are consumed by the polybar, X11 and systems for several services.

Being an Arch distro with the window manager, this metric might be slightly higher due to many pre-built customizations and processes.

Overall, it should perform fast in recent hardware (not more than five years old).

Wrapping up

Exodia OS is a newborn project and is still under development by a small team from Egypt. It seems the target audience is the security researchers who want a pre-built system with an Arch Linux base. Although, Debian-based Kali Linux is the “go-to” distro for anything related to security and hacking workflow. But Exodia OS might try to be the same with an Arch base.

The good thing about being an Arch-based distro is – you get easy access to the largest repo with thousands of packages with rolling-release. Plus, the one and only ArchWiki and documentation.

With that said, if you want to try it, test it in a virtual machine before installing it in the physical system. The LIVE medium has a user id liveuser, and the password is exodia. Also, make sure you know the key bindings of BSPWM before trying it out. The close window combination is Super+Shift+C.

You can download all three editions of ISO files from the official website.

Cheers.


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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