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While installing, I elected to start my windows manager on boot. Once it is started, if I want to exit it and get back to text mode, how can I do that? If I logout, my options are to restart X Window, to shutdown or restart. None of these gets me out of my windows manager.
Incidentally, does is ok to edit configuration files in a graphical environment, or should that only be done in a text environment?
To kill the X-server press ALT+BackSpace (I believe), but that's not really neccesary.
You can open shells in X, but if you prefer you can also access a terminal with CTRL+ALT+F1 (or F2, etc). To get back to X, press CTRL+ALT+F7 . This is true for Mandrake anyway, but I think it's the same on every distribution.
As far as editing config files is concerned, the same rule applies in both Linux and Windows. Do not edit config files of a program that is currently running. For example, you shouldn't edit the config files for X whilst you are running X. This is actually a bit of a bad example since it doesn't make much difference, but it's always a good idea to make sure that the program is not running.
If you want a good text-mode editor, and like me you really don't like either vi, vim or emacs, then get jed. It should be on the 2nd cd of your Mandrake 8.1 install cd set.
Control-alt-backspace does it for me. That should shut down the X server itself, which then shuts down the virtual console it's running on, and that should take you back to an initial login prompt.
However it may take you back to an X login; I'm running in text mode and going to X via startx. In that case, open a terminal window in X as root (in Mdk 8.1 you can select a terminal as super user from the menu), and issue the command "init 3" without the quotes. That will take you to run level 3, dropping X entirely in the process and acting very much like a reboot. From there you can log in using text mode, and edit the inittab file to change the default runlevel from 5 to 3 for future operation.
Hope this helps! While I've only been running Linux for a couple of months I'm picking it up fairly fast, thanks to lots of experience with some of its ancestors back 25 years ago and more...