[I'm going to try to yank this thread over from PSA-members, which should have been done *long* ago!]
[on psa-members, Michel Sanner opined:]
I do not think that trying to bend over bacakwards to circumevent this "limitation" is the right way to proceed .. unless changing the import mechanism in Python itself is something that would be extremely difficult to do.
I agree that a change to the import mechanism is in order. My understanding (from another one of those office-hallway conversations with Fred) is that it would be very sensible to add a package's platform-dependent directory to the package's __path__ attribute. No frobbing of sys.path is necessary, and thus no danger of stupid name conflicts in extension modules that are supposed to be buried deep in some package structure.
Perhaps imputil.py can help us in the playing around stage; I'm not familiar with it, though, so I'll refrain from further comment.