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Seven steps to Feisty Fawn bliss
by Rick Lehrbaum (May 4, 2007)

With the release of Ubuntu 7.04, aka Feisty Fawn, I naturally couldn't resist taking Kubuntu, my preferred Ubuntu version, for a quick spin on my trusty old Thinkpad testbed.

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Here is a seven-step process through which I speedily arrived at a highly usable, fully capable desktop Linux system. A comparison to my previous seven-distro Thinkpad exploit appears at the end.

Step 1. Download the ISO, burn and boot the live CD, do the install

Download the Kubuntu 7.04 ISO for the live CD, and burn the CD. Boot the Thinkpad using the live CD, and click install; proceed through easy-as-pie six-step process; reboot after install is finished.

Now that's one clean KDE desktop!
(Click to enlarge)

Step 2. Install Firefox using the Adept Installer

Run the Adept Installer utility (Kmenu > Add/Remove Programs), and select Firefox, then click "Apply Changes" at the bottom of the Adept window.

Two quick comments, at this point: (1) don't check the box for Java plug-in, you'll get that (and more) shortly, thanks to the excellent Automatix2 installer; (2) you'll be returning to the Adept Installer in a little while to install other packages, once the basic install is complete, so resist the temptation to stock up on software, for now.

Installing Firefox with the Adept Installer function
(Click to enlarge)

After installing Firefox, run it (Kmenu > Internet > Firefox). If all went well, here is the result.

Firefox runs for the first time on my Feisty Fawn desktop
(Click to enlarge)

Step 3. Download and install Automatix2

Run Konsole (Kmenu > System > Konsole) and enter the following commands at the command line (*):

sudo dpkg -i automatix2_1.1-3.12-7.04feisty_i386.deb
The second of the above commands returns a list of "dependency problems" that "prevent configuration of automatix2" -- see screenshot, below. But, don't worry, as this will soon be fixed.

(* Note: the version of the file to download using "wget," and install using "dpkg -i," may change; check for the latest Feisty package version/location here.)

Dpkg balks at my attempt to install Automatix2
(Click to enlarge)

To complete the Automatix2 install (and remedy the aforementioned "dependency problems"), type in the following additional pair of commands at Konsole's command prompt:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -f install
... and type "Y" in response to "Do you want to continue [Y/n]?"

This completes ("fixes") the installation of Automatix2. Close Konsole.

Step 4. Automatix2 is your friend

Automatix2 makes a terrific companion to Ubuntu/Kubuntu, for anyone who wants to be able to install and use a few well-selected "non-free" programs and drivers.

Start Automatix2 (Kmenu > System > Automatix2). Use its menu to select and install whatever you like from its easy-to-navigate list of software goodies. It looks and works a bit like the Adept Installer that you just used in step 2.

Automatix2's disclaimer
(Click to enlarge)

Automatix2's splash screen
(Click to enlarge)

Automatix2's installation menu
(Click to enlarge)

My personal favorite apps for installing via Automatix2 are: Thunderbird email client, Skype VoIP client, Gaim multi-protocol IM client, Opera browser, Sun Java Firefox plug-in, Adobe Flash player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Bluefish html/text editor, extra fonts, Realplayer, and various multimedia "goodies" (codecs, plugins, etc.). Automatix2 really is a nice addition to the basic Ubuntu/Kubuntu distribution!

During the installation of some of these applications by Automatix2, the process will occasionally present screens that need responses. In some cases, you need to press Tab or the right/left arrow keys on your keyboard to "highlight" the desired response (it gets a red background), and then press the Enter key to allow the installation to proceed. An example from Skype installation appears in the following screenshots.

Automatix2 begins the Skype install
(Click to enlarge)

Highlight OK using Tab key, then press Enter
(Click to enlarge)

Highlight Yes using the Tab key or arrow keys, then press Enter
(Click to enlarge)

Step 5. Customize your desktop

Configure KDE settings (Kmenu > System Settings > Look & Feel) as desired.

KDE's "Look and Feel" tool lets you tune colors, fonts, style, and more, to your heart's desire
(Click to enlarge)

Step 6. Add more software, and stir

Finally, go back to Adept (Kmenu > Add/Remove Programs) and select any other software desired -- you've only got 21,392 programs to choose from!

One-click software installation, courtesy of the Adept Installer
(Click to enlarge)

Some of my favorites include:, GIMP, and other applications that you can see, below, on my finished desktop.

My finished Kubuntu Feisty Fawn desktop
(Click to enlarge)

Step 7. A few post-install post-scripts

Adding Crossover Linux

As you may have noticed from my finished Feisty Fawn desktop (above screenshot), I also installed Crossover Linux 6.01, downloaded from, and used it to add an tattered old copy of Microsoft Office 97 to my Feisty Fawn desktop, as illustrated in the following two screenshots.

Installing CrossOver Linux
(Click to enlarge)

Installing Microsoft Office 97
(Click to enlarge)

Veni, Vidi, WiFi

Don't ask me why, but my crusty old WiFi card, an oft-cursed (due to lack of Linux drivers) Linksys WPC11v4, which worked with Dapper Drake (aka Ubuntu/Kubuntu 6.06), refused to cooperate with Feisty Fawn. Since that card had become harder and harder to support in recent years, I finally broke down and bought a new WiFi card, an Atheros chipset-based D-Link DWL-G630, in the hopes of ridding myself of Linux WiFi problems. The verdict? It installed automatically in Feisty Fawn, via KNetworkManager (Kmenu > Internet > KNetworkManager), as seen in the next two screenshots.

KNetworkManager detects local wireless networks
(Click to enlarge)

Setting up my WEP key
(Click to enlarge)

Taming the bouncing "launch feedback" widget

Sorry, but I really can't stand the KDE desktop application launch feedback widget option, whereby it bounces up and down after you click a desktop icon until the selected application has finished loading. It's always the first setting I change whenever I install a new KDE-based desktop. But in Kubuntu, for some unexplained reason, the bouncing widget is the default and it can't be reconfigured using the standard Kubuntu "System Settings" (Kmenu > System Settings) tool.

Not to worry. Just go to Kmenu > Run Command, and type kcontrol at the prompt (then hit Enter). From the menu along the left, select Appearance & Themes > Launch Feedback, and in the dropdown menu below "Busy Cursor," select "Blinking Cursor." Well, that's what I do, anyhow. Presto, no more silly bouncy launch feedback. Sorry, I guess it gives me motion sickness.

Getting to the root of a problem

Another pet peeve of mine is the Ubuntu/Kubuntu "sudo" command prefex for system configuration tasks, instead of using a normal Linux "root" mode. It drives me nuts! So, this is another thing I change just as fast as I can, whenever I grace a computer with a *buntu distribution.

Here's how I fix that...

Using sudo (for the last time!), set a new root password:
rick@thinkpad2:~$ sudo passwd root
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully
rick@thinkpad2:~$ sudo -i
Now, as root, using your favorite editor, edit /etc/sudoers to enable a root account, as shown in the next set of commands. Basically, you need to add rootpw to the line labeled "Defaults." For example, using the nano editor:
root@thinkpad2:~# nano /etc/sudoers
Now, using nano, add rootpw to the Defaults line, like this:
# Defaults
Defaults !lecture,tty_tickets,!fqdn,rootpw
And then, exit nano using Ctrl-o, Ctrl-x. The same thing can be done with any plain text editor you prefer.

Now, you can try out your new root account, like this:
root@thinkpad2:~# exit
rick@thinkpad2:~$ su
See how the prompt changed from "rick@thinkpad2:~$" to "root@thinkpad2:/home/rick#" after I typed su and entered my password? That's the sign of a "properly" functioning root account. From now on, prompts from system configuration programs like Adept and Automatix2 will expect your root password instead of your personal user-account login password.

Testing dialup

One last test was to run kppp (Kmenu > Internet > KPPP), the KDE Internet Dialup Tool, to make sure that I'd be able to use my Feisty Fawn system when I'm up in the Sierras at my cabin, where there's no DSL. Once I figured out that my PCMCIA modem (an ancient Rockwell 56K fax modem card) was recognized by the system as "/dev/ttyS1," all went smoothly. (I must confess that I ran "wvdialconf" from the Konsole command line to have it help me find the device assignment of that modem card.)

The bottom line?

So, what's my overall impression of my shiny new Feisty Fawn desktop?

Using the same standards as in my recent seven distro article, I rate Feisty Fawn as follows:


  • Lots and lots of software available from the official and unofficial Ubuntu (and Debian) repositories
  • Excellent appearance, fonts, and configurability
  • Easy addition of non-free applications, multimedia codecs and drivers, extra fonts, and other add-ons via Automatix2
  • A distro that's clearly "on the rise" and is here for the long term
  • Bouncing feedback widget in default install
  • Lack of root account in default install
  • Automatix2 isn't a standard part of Ubuntu/Kubuntu Feisty Fawn
But all the con's are easily remedied -- which, by the way, is why I wrote this article.


Kubuntu Feisty Fawn Scorecard
Installation5 points
Customizable5 points
Hardware/multimedia support4 points
Apps included/available5 points
Total:19 points

There you have it: I deducted 1 point due to the need for me to use Automatix2 to get all the multimedia support my heart desired. That puts Feisty just a smidgen behind MEPIS -- which scored 20 points in my previous tests.

Now, if only Feisty Fawn came with Automatix2 built-in! (hint, hint...)

Rick Lehrbaum is the founder and executive editor of

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