Hi renaissance, one of the characteristics of Linux that is feared and lauded at the same time is the use of the CLI (Command Line Interface). You just have to start practicing the most common commands, soon you'll notice that you can achieve a better perfomance if you use it. Try to read these ones:
However, some distros like Ubuntu, have plenty of applications in the GUI to setup your system without using the command line. Check around in the GNOME menu System -> Administration
You can use gedit to edit your files, keep in mind that most of the times you have to run it as root, if you want to edit config files.