Before the Distutils, there was no infrastructure to support installing third-party modules in a consistent, standardized way. Thus, it's not really possible to write a general manual for installing Python modules that don't use the Distutils; the only truly general statement that can be made is, ``Read the module's own installation instructions.''
However, if such instructions exist at all, they are often woefully inadequate and targeted at experienced Python developers. Such users are already familiar with how the Python library is laid out on their platform, and know where to copy various files in order for Python to find them. This document makes no such assumptions, and explains how the Python library is laid out on three major platforms (Unix, Windows, and Mac OS), so that you can understand what happens when the Distutils do their job and know how to install modules manually when the module author fails to provide a setup script.
Additionally, while there has not previously been a standard installation mechanism, Python has had some standard machinery for building extensions on Unix since Python ** version? **. This machinery (the Makefile.pre.in file) is superseded by the Distutils, but it will no doubt live on in older module distributions for a while. This Makefile.pre.in mechanism is documented in the ``Extending & Embedding Python'' manual, but that manual is aimed at module developers--hence, we include documentation for builders/installers here.
All of the pre-Distutils material is tucked away in