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If you stop the GUI you will obviously not be able to run GUI programs like Firefox.
Anyways, you will normally find programs in /bin, /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin, sometimes in /opt. But normally those directories are in your PATH variable, so that you can just launch them with their names.
Don't completely remove GUI as you won't be able to open many useful GUI programs (eg. a web browser). My advice would be to keep it as it is, but try to use the terminal as much as possible. Another thought: choose a tiling window manager (eg. Awesome, i3, dwm, etc.) as they don't usually have traditional menus with programs). Have fun.
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
It will be a good idea to just log into a tty by pressing Ctrl Alt F2 then loging with your user loging. Then to go back to the GUI type exit then press Alt F7.
There are terminal tools that allow you do things you will normally do in a in a GUI session (or X session)
For web browsing you can use lynx or w3m web browsers (these are terminal base web browser)
For music playing you can use mpg123 mp3 player or also mpg321 (media players for terminal)
For email sending or receiving you can use mutt which is a email client terminal base
for chat you can use irssi which is a chat client for any IRC server
If need a terminal base file manager then use MC (Midnight Commander)which can be also a FTP client
There are hundreds of tools for terminal if you become familiar with them you can probably find them to be faster than the graphical tools.
Hey I like your thinking. Remember that usually the standard distributions set you up with six ttys. So you can use the first boot up terminal to start your gui an then launch at least four more ttys. Some processes take a while so you switch using alt and the funtion keys and do something else. A word of caution, it is always good to look at the man page for an executable before you execute it. Save yourself a headache.