Indeed, I see this "We will succeed because we lack useless baggage" attitude all the time from little hobbyist systems. It's the same mistake as when someone observes that most MS Office users are using only a small fraction of its features and then mistakenly concludes that a program which implements a small fraction of MS Office's features is adequate for most MS Office users. It would only be true if they all sought the /same/ features but of course everybody is different.
It only takes _one_ missing requirement to rule out your system. It will take hundreds, even thousands of features to "bloat" the system enough to make a measurable difference.
Some people seem to have created a folk history of Linux in which Linus Torvalds slays the bloated dinosaurs of Traditional Unix with his simpler, lightweight OS. In reality from the outset people's gripe about Linux was that it lacked features they wanted, and that's where a lot of early development (and the occasional famous name) comes into the picture. Nobody was shouting "Hooray Linux doesn't have over-complicated PAM", they were shouting "Hooray Linux runs on these incredibly cheap i486 based PCs we got for half the price of an entry-level Sun clone, what a shame it doesn't have PAM, I wonder if we can fix that somehow".