I need to distribute pre-compiled buildouts because some projects don't allow us to have gcc installed on the production system for security reasons.
Fair enough, we need to provide a pre-compiled buildout.
If you want to distribute your buildout-based Plone application in a binary form, so it can be installed without requiring any compiler on the platform, you need to compile all .c modules before you provide a tarball of your buildout folder.
This is easy : just run your buildout and all .so files will be created in the zope 2 installation. (.pyd under windows)
But this will work only if you compile in a directory that is located within the same path on the target machine, because zc.buildout uses absolute paths when it builds scripts.
Furthermore, if the python interpreter is not located in the same place, your buildout script itself is screwed.
Last but not least, plone.recipe.zope2install is not clever enough. It
will remove your zope2 installation when it detects that the path has
changed. This is pretty annoying even if you have gcc : what is the
point of compiling the c extension again since they
are statically compiled in-place ?
I have changed plone.recipe.zope2install and added a new option called `smart-recompile` (in trunk right now, not released).
If you use it, the recipe will check for .so or .pyd files before trying to ditch your zope 2 installation and recompile it. Even if you don't use it to build binary distributions, it will make your buildout build faster if you already have zope compiled in there.
Next, I have created a special bootstrap.py, who is clever enough to rebuild the buildout script with the right path to the used interpreter, and with offline-mode capabilities. To make it short : boostrap.py works no matter if you have an internet connection or not. Grab it here : http://ziade.org/bootstrap.py
So now, basically you can compile your buildout and deploy it on any
system, on any path, without any internet connection, like this:
$ python bootstrap.py # will rebuild the buildout script
Of course this doesn't work if you have dynamically compiled extensions like python-ldap. For theses, the best pick is to rely on the system ones.