Try to describe Hotwire, and you'll eventually wind up saying something that sounds like an oxymoron, like "command-line GUI," "graphical shell" or "GUI xterm." Well, that's pretty much what Hotwire is: something halfway between a text-based shell and a modern graphical user interface.
In part, the confusion stems from the fuzzy definition the typical desktop user has of the Unix shell. For the most part, it is transparent to us. We probably know that some commands (like ls and chown) are separate binaries, while others (like cd and umask) are actually internal functions provided by the shell. But unless we do a lot of scripting, it can be hard to remember which is which; we type whichever we need at the prompt and get back to business.