Actually the Linux kernel is quite good. What I meant by "bloated" is that it does a lot of things that are not supposed to be the kernel's job. It does a nice job of it, too. But at some point it causes problems. Amongst others, as highlighted by the numerotation silliness, it makes evolution a hard, arcane process. A microkernel that does its kernel job, and only his kernel job (which is basically assigning CPU time to task, or the other way round if you prefer) and let outside "servers" deal with almost everything else, makes more sense. More compat work involved (and, admitedly, a lot of compat problems to be expected when you mix servers and kernel of different ages), but still makes more sense. The module approach is a sort of compromise, but as a result the kernel still ends up doing many things that it shouldn't be doing.
I don't mind rebuilding modules each time I fiddle with the kernel, but as a famous -though fictional- scrivener put it, I'd prefer not to.
And also, as I said, modules are only a compromise, which means that not only do I have to build most of them by hand, but also I have to install a whopping 300 MB package if I want reasonable basic hardware support (OK, not Linus' fault, my distro is to blame here, but it's part of the "kernel does what kernel shouldn't do" problem). Which means keeping two such packages concommitently in the relevant partition -albeit for a short time- upon upgrade. And this is a no-no on most of my machines. I could just increase the size of said partitions, but again, I'd prefer not to. Or I could just use a large virtual machine to compile the bare kernel, build the modules, create my package and deploy that. But I'd prefer not to. And it would still be needlessly large. With a microkernel and suitably backward-compatible servers, I would be able to upgrade the whole system, minute amounts at a time. It allows for faster developpment and easier vuln patching, too. GNU's Hurd seems promising to me. I'll be waiting for it to be ready, reporting problems from time to time... or I could contribute more actively, but of course, as you'll have understood by now, I'd prefer not to! ;-)