There are two ways that this module can be compiled and linked to Apache - statically, or as a DSO (Dynamic Shared Object).
Static linking is a more "traditional" approach, and most programmers prefer it for its simplicity. The drawback is that it entails recompiling Apache, which some people cannot do for a variety of reasons.
DSO is a newer and still somewhat experimental approach. The module gets compiled as a library that is dynamically loaded by the server at run time. A more detailed description of the Apache DSO mechanism is available at http://www.apache.org/docs/dso.html.
The advantage of DSO is that a module can be installed without recompiling Apache and used as needed. DSO has its disadvantages, however. Compiling a module like mod_python into a DSO can be a complicated process because Python, depending on configuration, may rely on a number of other libraries, and you need to make sure that the DSO is statically linked against each of them. Luckily, the configure script below will spare you of this headache by automatically figuring out all the necessary parameters.