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You can edit /etc/iniitab and change "id:5:initdefault:" to id:3:initdefault:" and you will be using VGA text mode next time you restart the system.
To change to text mode without restarting type "init 3" and "startx" to startup the gnome desktop again.
To get a text console you can also type Ctrl-Alt-F6 and switch backup using Alt-F7.
If you want to disable it without rebooting, then (still doing as Dude recommended) also comment out the line that loads X. E.g.
Then use the telinit q command to have the kernel reread the +/etc/inittab+ file. Any respawn daemons that no longer applies are automatically terminated - which means xdm will be shut down.
# Run xdm in runlevel 5 # x:5:respawn:/etc/X11/prefdm -nodaemon
Keep in mind to uncomment the line after the 1st reboot in order for runlevel 5 to support X. Personally, I do not on servers as I refuse to have sysadmin run GUIs on servers in a cabinet in the computer room somewhere. If X is needed, they need to use VNC or some other remote frame buffer app that supports virtual X desktops.