When distributing python packages that depend on non-python components, the typical way of doing this with general-purpose package managers (linux distributions, conda) is to place binaries, headers, configuration and other artefacts for these components in their respective natural locations under the installation prefix (e.g. PREFIX/bin/, PREFIX/include/, PREFIX/etc/,  PREFIX/share/).

Now, if I have a python package that depends on such a thing (e.g. pyzmq vs zmq), the pypi wheel for pyzmq will vendor a binary for libzmq as package data.

For the case of the header files, there is the distutils `install_headers` directive, but the target directory is (typically) under PREFIX/include/PythonX.Y, which is probably only a good choices for headers of a C extension linked with this specific python installation.

Would it make sense, when vendoring packages packages that don't depend on the python version in a wheel to use `data_files` instead, and target respectively the `bin`, `include`, `etc` and `share` subdirectories of the prefix?

Specifically, for the headers, one could do

    data_files      = [
        ('include/foobar', [list of the foobar header files])),

Note: I was just using zmq as an example.