> This is my biggest wish (thanks for articulating it so well, Ari). 

You're welcome.

> I've got no idea how this sort of thing is handled in windows 

.msi packages, not that I'd want to deal with creating them, or some
sort of installer-exe, or a .zip with a note on where in the tree to
unpack it.   All are good options, though I think the .msi approach is
the "right way".

> By all means, I'm for a standard way of installing:  but really this is
> just to make it easier for me to take packages that actually play nicely
> with the system's package manager (in my case RPMs).

Here, here.  Systems I maintain often have a policy of "if it's not
installed by RPM, it's not going to be installed.  And --nodeps and
--force are illegal, too"

Ari