I was just reading some comments from Richard Stallman on ./ when I noticed that he pointed out a useful autoconf feature that was added somewhat recently.  Essentially, this feature would allow one to do a build/install of a python module using the "./configure; make install" approach, if one chooses.  Maybe it should be something to consider adding to our build system?

http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/html_node/Python.html

Cheers!
Ben Root