Been awhile since I have jumped on a linux gui (think the last one was Fluxbox), but IIRC you should be able start an editor - gui version, if you like - by running a command via the Gnome Menu. Alternatively, start a shell and then start the editor from there.
Tip: use nohup gedit & if you want the editor to stay open after you close the terminal.
BTW, gedit is the Gnome Editor, in case you didn't know. You could also try vim, a bit hard for beginners, or pico/nano, if you are so inclined to use the command line interface (CLI).
Looks like it might be what your looking for; just remember that most distros tend to do things their own way so watch out for path locations and file names in user directories and in config directories [read: /etc].