I've made some progress on the bootstrapping idea :)
As a proof of concept I wrote a simple script which will download *all* the required RPM files for an installation of Fedora-Core 6. (i386)
This downloads 348 .rpm files, which is about 700Mb. (I'm downloading way more files than I need, because I'm not using dependency-discovery yet....)
However the proof of concept works. I can successfully chroot inside the unpackaged directory tree - so I think it is sufficient to persuade me that I can dynamically determine which RPM files need to be installed. This avoiding the problem which rpmstrap suffers from. (ie. having a static list of specific RPM version to fetch.)
If you'd like to test my script, hardwired as it is, (did I mention ugly?), then feel free. In terms of requirements you'll need:
Note: I'd expect this script to take in the order of 30-40 minutes to run. It is pretty noisy though, so you'll know it hasn't died!
The script will live here for a day or two:
PS. Don't run this as root. Please.