[David Ascher got involuntarily forwarded]
Aside: it strikes me that for Python programs which import lots of files, 'front-loading' the stat calls could make sense. When you first look at a directory in sys.path, you read the entire directory in memory, and successive imports do a stat on the directory to see if it's changed, and if not use the in-memory data. Or am I completely off my rocker here?
I posted something here about dircache not too long ago. Essentially, I found it completely unreliable on NT and on Linux to stat the directory. There was some test code attached.