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Earlies linux distros though required lot of manual work they were quite good to use from commandline. If the X-server didn't start or you just want a shell to work they all supported. Network was configured by init; sound was up and ready; new devices inserted would be configured and their configureation was placed in fstab. Also there were small scripts I found on many distros which on X used windows while on console they switched to ncurses.

But now this all needs GUI with a desktop manager (KDE, GNOME) for the new paradigms require GUI (NetworkManger, HAL etc.). So if on just command line you have to be root, looks like they believe only geeky admins need that, and need to edit config files or type big commands.

I want to use the services like Network Manager and HAL purely from command line. How can I do this?

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Ubuntu is still using the linux kernel, it's no different. – Phoshi Mar 28 '10 at 11:55
Kernel is not the OS. OS is kernel + other programs. – Xolve Mar 29 '10 at 17:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If I understand your question correctly, you are not having issues reaching the command line, but want command line access to new "fancy" GUI features without being root?

You can. It's not included by default, but you can get access to both HAL mounting and Network Manager from the command line. For HAL, there is a script available that handles mounting through DBus. For NetworkManager there is cnetworkmanager, which is a command line "UI". It is not yet in the official repositories but it's getting there. Until then, it's available in Steve McGrath's PPA.

Edit: I got my reputation up enough to post more than one link per post, so here they are. :)

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Would appreciate some more links :-) – Xolve Mar 30 '10 at 5:08
As you said, there still exists lots of utilities to manage a linux computer from the command line. The one i know of which sounds most like Xolve asked for is probably the yast system for openSuse. It allows configuration of (practically) the whole system using one of several frontends (gtk, qt, ncurses..). yast is probably the main reason I install openSuse on computers i will only have remote access to, since it's so easy to use from the cli. – petergil Mar 30 '10 at 13:37
@quack: I figured the one link per post limit was a hard limit and didn't want to step on any toes, thus I didn't put them in comments. I'm not used to communities where people have common sense. :P Links added to the answer anyway, as I had intended them to be when I wrote it. – user32498 Mar 30 '10 at 13:41
@johan: np. i did that on my first post, too -- when i first posted and realized i couldn't post more than one link, i stuck the extras in comments. a couple days later i when i had the rep i came back, edited them into place where i originally meant them to be, and deleted the now-extraneous comments. – quack quixote Mar 30 '10 at 13:52

Ubuntu still provides a server edition that operates in a headless mode by default. It sounds like that's more along the lines of what you're looking for. You don't specify what Ubuntu version you're using, so some of the following may change (eg, HAL isn't used after Ubuntu 9.04; it's replaced by DeviceKit in Ubuntu 9.10).

  • In a truly headless environment, you'd want to disable Network Manager and manage your interfaces via /etc/network/interfaces.

  • HAL events can be handled with the HALevt daemon; I've written about it before to describe using HALevt to provide GnomeVFS-like automounting to a headless system.

  • System facilities that require access normally handled by DBus can be launched on the commandline with dbus-launch.

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Are there any command line tools available for these. – Xolve Mar 29 '10 at 6:13
@Xolve: dbus-launch is a commandline tool, and DBus also includes dbus-monitor and dbus-send ; for handling network interfaces you'd use ifup and ifdown and ifconfig ; HAL has... many, mostly relating to getting, finding, or setting properties; HALevt provides halevt-mount and halevt-umount ... and there are many, many, many others you might be interested in. like too many to mention here. you should examine the packages that install HAL and Dbus for files installed in bin and sbin directories to find the commands included. – quack quixote Mar 29 '10 at 7:23

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