[all variants] Command line only skin/mode?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I recently installed ubuntu 12.04 and kubuntu-desktop on a macbook pro and although I am enjoying them, I am getting horrendous battery life using them. Since I am mainly using terminal only, I was wondering if there was an interface or something I could download where I could log out and log into a shell only environment? I will occasionally need to look something up on the internet, so I would want to be able to switch back to something where I can use a browser. I am aware I can boot into text mode by altering the kernel boot line; however, I have problems when exiting it, the ubuntu/kubu (Hardware)