Hi Mass. team!
Cape Cod here!

I'm running 9.10 on a 512 MB RAM PC, and would like to pick up some extra ram every once in a while by shutting down gnome desktop and running apps from command line.

Tried the following w/o success from both terminal inside gnome and [ctrl] +[alt] +[F1]
sudo etc/init.d/gdm stop
[ctrl] + [alt] [backspace]
sudo pkill Xorg
gdm stop

found that inside [ctrl] + [alt] + [F1] this seems to shut down gnome
sudo service gdm stop
(and this starts)
sudo service gdm start

But I'm not able to run VirtualBox or firefox from command line after I've done that.
I stumbled across something saying that you can't run graphical programs after shutting down gdm. I don't really know the difference between gdm and gnome and GUIs, and tend to type things into terminals without really knowing what they mean while hoping for the best.

I find it hard to believe that you can't run a nice pretty program like firefox without running an entire humongous graphical desktop program. Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Thoughts?