Pointing at GNU or the BSDs to say that linux userland is bloated is, well, wrong target. It means that those GNU/BSD utils are.
Everyone's entirely free to use busybox, toybox, plan9 utils, or asmutils, and I bet you can find a distro that defaults to each of those.
Alpine is uclibc/busybox, and can be used as a desktop IIRC. Tiny Core is glibc+busybox. Aboriginal is uclibc+bb, but doesn't do X IIRC. Gentoo can be configured like that. Etc.
I do wonder why, if your target is a desktop, the bloat of glibc and GNU utils even registers; surely the bloat of firefox exceeds their combined bloat 1000-fold? Even the bloat of Xorg is a lot when compared to tinyX, but you still want the acceleration for desktop use.
Who decides what's standard and not? I prefer GNU way.Non-standard functions in utilities are bloat, since portable scripts should not depend on them. Why two parameters for same thing like "-A" and "--show-all"?
cat utility is not IDE.