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Greetings all. I am extremely new to Linux and have a ton of questions that I can't seem to find the answers to on google and other search sites.

Lets start with a basic question:

I am running SuSE 8.2 and have a Nvidia GeForce card. I have downloaded the integrated driver file (a .run file). The first thing it says to do is log off x server. And here is where I am stuck. What is x server, and how do I log off it?
The x server is the process that runs your windows manager or desktop i.e. KDE, gnome, blackbox etc.... When the desktop GUI is running it is also called runlevel 5. Multiuser no GUI i.e. command line is runlevel 3 and single user command line is runlevel 1.

Most likely your system automatically boots to a desktop GUI.

If using lilo you can reboot the system using the methods listed below. You want to enter command line parameter: init 3.

You can do the same thing with grub but I think the default bootloader for SuSE is lilo.

You can also edit the /etc/inittab file and find where is says runlevel and change from 5 to a 3 and reboot the PC.

Once the PC reboots you will see just a command line prompt. log in and follow the install instructions.
Ok, if I reboot not to a GUI, but rather to a command prompt and log in that way, how do I edit it back to make it load the GUI once I have installed the drivers? Is there no way to install drivers with the GUI running? Seems like Linux would have a way to do that with all the complaining linux users make about having to reboot windows after installs and what not.
The command to start x from an console is:

Once its working go back and edit the /etc/inittab file or if you used an option for the bootloader, reboot the PC.

There are several console text editors. emacs, vi and pico are the most popular.
emacs <file to edit>
What you are doing is installing a kernel driver ... some of the files you need to replace are in use when the GUI is running, so the GUI must be secured prior to running the program.

Linux can be configured so that the GUI doesn't start on boot up ... then you would just type startx to run a GUI (just like any other program). If your PC started in text mode, then a reboot would not be required to do the install, just log out the the console.

Because people don't want to boot to text mode and type startx for a GUI (that is way too hard!), Display managers now provide a graphical login screen (to be like windows) ... and the Display Manager will respawn if you stop that process, so the only way to get to text mode (without a GUI running) is to reboot to another runlevel. That is caused by the user setup, not by Linux...

When you solve problems with windows like thinking (a GUI that won't shutdown), you will get windows like actions to do upgrades (like rebooting the machine).

Personally, I always boot to text mode and type startx after I login ... but then again, I mostly run Linux on servers where I don't want the GUI loaded unless I need it for a function.
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