I am a novice with wordpress but doing my best to learn.
Is it possible to use the buddypress profile system without installing the whole of buddypress?
I appreciate any feedback even if it is just a yes, just so I know my options.
You'll have to install the entire plugin, but you can turn off the portions you don't want to use. I've done that with one my sites and the users just have extended profiles.
Short answer is no... You have to install the plugin just to be able to use any of the functions and template tags bp provides, let alone the profiles...