Broken mpl deb files partial solution

Well, Xandros ship a python with no distutils.

    > Hmmmmmmmmmm, usefull.

Install distutils rather than trying to work around them. For
example, all the configure, gcc, make stuff you attempted is
unnecessary if you simply use distutils with 'python build'..

Everything else you are trying will result in a fragmented and
corrupted source. The standard installation techinques will work on
Xandros, I'm willing to wager, and will result in a cleaner, better
system that trying to hack the install. This isn't always true
(solaris and perhaps os x spring to mind) but I have some confidence
that it will be true for your install

    > Anyway, I have a clean reinstall now; but both mpl deb's
    > are broken (see below).

Did you do what I suggested in my last post. Step by step, what was
the output? For example, to the suggested commands

  >>> import matplotlib
  >>> print matplotlib.__version__

What was the output of the apt-get commands? Did you follow the
instructions in the response I sent to matplotlib-users? Did you try a
different GUI backend?