Under Ubuntu, or any distribution using Gnome, you can do almost anything without using the command line.
To configure some things, you still have to edit a configuration file. To configure your desktop, a lot of online documentation still requires you to to edit
/etc config files.
To help non linux experts, you can try the
nautilus-gksu package. It permits you to edit any file as administrator with a simple right-click on the file.
Personnaly, I prefer launching Nautilus as root, as it allows more than simple file edition power (permission change, deleting…).
I create a launcher for this task, a bit like the Administrator Terminal in Applications > System Tools:
- Right-click on the panel > Add to panel, Custom Application Launcher.