If the iso does all of the basics without python, I don't think it is absolutely necessary, but I am sure anyone extending it will very quickly be pulling in python from dependencies. The major requirements to me is that 1. there is a fully working, simple desktop, 2. all the hardware capabilities of PCLinuxOS are included, especially networking, 3. the Control Center tools should have all requirements met, and finally, 4. all packages in the repo should be able to install without missing dependencies, like task-KDE, task-lxde, etc.
If python is required for any of these, then it should be included.
* the desktop looks to me like it meets your requirement;
* the networking capabilities are met in Bonsai under the condition you do not need a proprietary driver at once when you install. I have been surprised on my new laptop : a IBM thinkpad T60 that I ordered recently and received a few days ago : PCLinuxOS connects to wifi without anything else than the wep key. The driver is ath5k : out of the box !
* PCC, the control center is there; (drakconf)
* Synaptic is there;
* The sources.lst is up to date and generally default configured on http://ftp.nluug.nl/...
which I consider being one of the best mirrors, so any of the packages from the repos should be available normally, task-* or else;
I would like to add one more requirement which I consider is the main goal of this version : that anyone can make his own version on top of it, without trouble. This is possible with the official, by stripping... I would like to be sure nothing bothers for this purpose with Bonsai, without having much to strip
, which is why I try to keep it low in size, and without a risk of breaking either... it must be as stable as the official release, obviously.
Each time you will affect it to a new purpose (making a web server, making a multimedia studio, or a version dedicated to games, or to enterprise... ) you will have to add some packages, and each time it will be a different set of packages : therefore you can surely appreciate to get a version on which you have very few packages to remove before reaching your goal. One more advantage is that when you will update it prior to adding packages, the update will be much faster.
As I said before somewhere else, you could do it out of the etjr's last cli.iso : but all the weeks we worked together last year on the first test thread have shown that it's not so easy, as we have met with many issues that we have fixed as we were going. I must however admit that I didn't take the time to test his second and his third cli.iso. I had at that time sent a summary of some of the problems met and he might have done some corrections (particularly the useradd script that was missing and some related directories in the system).
Else, you are one of the eldest testers of the Bonsai project, with Jeff who also follows this closely. Do you think we need to have a poll about bonsai staying an enhanced cli.iso/ or becoming a Mini with extended capabilities ? I feel like I often meet with cases where people think it should work directly as they want it to...