virtual_env

1. One relatively popular competitor to virtualenv in Python is zc.buildout:
http://www.buildout.org/

2. The Linux "C/C++" equivalent is indeed chroot's or cross compiler
toolchains and buildroot's.
Ex: mock can create chroot's with any Fedora packages you specify:
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Projects/Mock

Debian has debootstrap(?) and friends

http://www.remobo.com uses Mock on Fedora to build i686 and x86-64
binaries that work on all supported Linux distributions.
We build all the opensource third party libraries we depend on through
a build system like:
http://gitorious.org/scottt/minimal-linux-build

minimal-linux-build is functionally equivalent to
http://buildroot.org/ and many, many other build systems that control
the cross compilation of entire Linux distros.
Everyone and their dog, i.e. every large embedded Linux project and
every embedded chip vendor has such a system.

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