Gordon McMillan has developed a richer and more general solution to the same problem that py2exe solvespreparing compact ways to package up Python applications for installation on end user machines that may not have Python installed. The Installer tool, freely downloadable from http://www.mcmillan-inc.com/installer, is more general than py2exe, which supports only Windows platforms. Installer natively supports Linux as well as Windows. Also, Installer's portable, cross-platform architecture may allow you to extend it to support other Unix-like platforms with a reasonable amount of effort.
Installer does not rely on distutils. To use Installer, you must learn its own specification files' syntax and semantics. Installer can do much more than py2exe, so it's not surprising that there is more for you to learn before making full use of it. However, I recommend studying and trying out Installer if you have the specific need of building standalone Python applications for Linux or other Unix-like architectures, or if you have tried py2exe and found it did not quite meet your needs.