I recently discovered that one reason why pywin32 didn't work so well with easy_install was that easy_install wasn't processing pywin32's .pth file due to a case-sensitivity bug!
I've checked in a fix that appears to handle everything correctly, except for the previously-discussed issues with the post-install script, and a minor issue in pywintypes.py. Adding the following at line 91 in pywintypes.py fixed it for me:
if found is None: # Not in the Python directory? Maybe we were installed via # easy_install... if os.path.isfile(os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), filename)): found = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), filename)
With this addition and my fix to easy_install, it's possible to "easy_install pywin32" and get a working pywin32 install, minus the various registrations and shortcuts handled by the post-install script.
Fixing the post-install script to work with an easy_install-supplied payload is a bit more difficult, since it can't find its library directory and various other things. However, my personal use case for having a pywin32 egg is simply to be able to install it into a Chandler Python installation, which is not registered in the registry. (The .exe installer won't work with unregistered Pythons, so I'm win32-less otherwise.)