OK, I'm really confused here:
1) what the heck is so special about go all of a sudden? People have been writing and deploying single file executables built with C and ++, and whatever else? forever. (and indeed, it was a big sticking point for me when I introduced python in my organization)
Because Go is much easier to use to write those CLI apps than C or C++. The barrier now is low enough that the ease of development plus the ability to do statically compiled binaries is enticing folks to drop Python and Ruby for Go when making a CLI app.
2) Why the sudden interest in this as core a Python issue? I've been using Python for desktop apps, on primarily Windows and the Mac for years -- and had to deal with py2exe, py2app, etc. forever. And it has been a very very common question on the various mailing lists for ages: how do I deploy this? how do I make it easy to install? The answer from the developers of cPython itself has always been that that's a third party problem -- and go look for py2exe and friends to solve it. And that it is a solved-enough problem. The biggest "unsolved" issues are that you get a really big application.
Anecdotal evidence suggests Go's user base has a decent amount of converts from Python and it's currently the only language that seems to be siphoning people out of our community. You do hear stories of people skipping Python 3 and going to Go, but considering how much more work that is than writing Python 2/3 code I believe that typically happens when the organization wanted to jump ship anyway and the Python 3 transition just gave them an excuse to rewrite their stuff (plus we all know how enticing it can be to play with a shiny new piece of tech if given the chance).
Don't get me wrong -- I've wanted for years for it to be easier to deploy python-based apps as a single thinking for users to easily install and uninstall where they don't need to know it's python -- but what the heck is different now?
Active user loss where the biggest reason people are leaving that we can actively fix now is easy app deployment (the other is performance; some might argue concurrency but concurrent.futures and async/await water that down somewhat for me).
3) There was mention of a platform-neutral way to do this. Isn't that simply impossible? The platforms are different in all the ways that matter for this problem: both technical differences, and conventions. Which isn't to say you couldn't have one API to produce a single "thing" executable, so it would look like one solution for multiple platforms to the user. But the end product should be (would have to be) a different beast altogether.
I think it's to have a single tool to do it for any platform, not to have the technical nuts and bolts be the same necessarily. I think it's also to figure out if there is anything the interpreter and/or stdlib can do to facilitate this.