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?