[MAL, responding to my "import __version__ from distutils" trick]
Uhm... isn't that the obvious solution ;-)
No, but it's doable without making any changes in the Distutils (minimal) support for version numbers.
Note that I've just moved a thread about package versioning from xml-sig to python-dev. I think we need a PEP on this.
Good idea. There are any number of ways to do this, and we (the community) should pick one and settle on it. The whole point of standardizing this stuff is not that it'll be perfect, but it'll be standard.
I don't recall seeing the thread develop properly on python-dev... maybe you should try again, cross-posting distutils-sig this time.