There are two ways to start X. The first is to start X manually when you feel like using it. To do so, log in to one of the text consoles and type startx. This will start X and switch you to its virtual console.
The second (and recommended) way to use X is with xdm or X Display Manager. Basically, xdm gives you a nice graphical login prompt on the X virtual console (probably VC 7), and you log in there.
By default, either method will also start an xterm, which is a small window containing a shell prompt. At the shell prompt, you can type any commands just as you would on a text VC. So you can follow all the examples in this book using xterm; the only difference between an xterm and the text console is that you don't have to log on to the xterm because you already logged on to X.
There are also a lot of things you can do only in X, which are covered in this chapter.
One note: The default xterm window has a smallish font. If you have a small monitor or very high resolution or bad eyesight, you may want to fix this. Follow these steps: