Another one for the combined distutils/python-dev braintrust; apologies to those of you on both lists, but this is yet another distutils issue that treads on python-dev territory.
The problem is this: some module distributions need to install files other than code (modules, extensions, and scripts). One example close to home is the Distutils; it has a "system config file" and will soon have a stub executable for creating Windows installers.
On Windows and Mac OS, clearly these should go somewhere under sys.prefix: this is the directory for all things Python, including third-party module distributions. If Brian Hooper distributes a module "foo" that requires a data file containing character encoding data (yes, this is based on a true story), then the module belongs in (eg.) C:\Python and the data file in (?) C:\Python\Data. (Maybe C:\Python\Data\foo, but that's a minor wrinkle.)
Any disagreement so far?
Anyways, what's bugging me is where to put these files on Unix. <prefix>/lib/python1.x is *almost* the home for all things Python, but not quite. (Let's ignore platform-specific files for now: they don't count as "miscellaneous data files", which is what I'm mainly concerned with.)
Currently, misc. data files are put in <prefix>/share, and the Distutil's config file is searched for in the directory of the distutils package -- ie. site-packages/distutils under 1.5.2 (or ~/lib/python/distutils if that's where you installed it, or ./distutils if you're running from the source directory, etc.). I'm not thrilled with either of these.
My inclination is to nominate a directory under <prefix>lib/python1.x for these sort of files: not sure if I want to call it "etc" or "share" or "data" or what, but it would be treading in Python-space. It would break the ability to have a standard library package called "etc" or "share" or "data" or whatever, but dammit it's convenient.