I like the batteries included approach, but I also feel resistence against including stuff I cannot maintain. The XML code base is a point in case; I don't understand enough about XML. (I just read that xmllib.py is "illegal". Jeez! What happened? Did Congress pass a law against it?)
I think it may be time for separate Python distributions, like Linux -- I can concentrate on the core, and keep it really small; others can make all-encompassing distributions.
There are currently some drawbacks to this approach: non-core modules have less status; and the documentation process is fundamentally different for core and non-core modules. There's also the version dependency stuff, but I think resolving that is the responsibility of the distribution makers.
I think the status problem will be gone once there is a respected distribution -- then you derive status from being in that distribution, rather than from being in the core distribution. (Well, you would still derive status from being in the core, but it would be much harder to obtain, since I can set a much higher standard.)
The documentation problem is the one that's left. I think the doc-sig may be on its way as we speak to solve this, though. Fred?
This isn't rocket science. Red Hat Python? I'm all for it! :-)
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/%7Eguido/)