This is known as "nominative determinism"; here's a somewhat amusing article from a couple of years ago on the subject.
Not that I can blame you, but I guess you've all blocked this from your memories.
No, but I wish I could.
Has anybody actually tried to take the KDE and trim the rarely used and niche functions?
Yep, in fact one such effort was started by some KDE devs:
As someone who has worked on a Linux-based embedded system, and had to cross-compile to do it... dude, Linux cross-compilation sucks, and there's almost universal pushback from everyone wo deals with Linux build systems, from Debian to Red Hat, and beyond, to any attempts to make it better.
Did you try OpenEmbedded / the Yocto Project? It takes away pretty much all of the pain of cross-compilation. Most of our users seem pretty happy with it.
I work with a number of GNOME developers, and most of them pronounce it the normal way (the same way the English word "gnome" is pronounced), so I guess just choose whichever one you prefer.
I wanted to, but I was afraid of the Evil Ones. They're everywhere, don't you see them?
So it's all been done before?
Have you (or someone else) filed a bug about this?