Should we actually change sys.prefix?
I'm wavering about whether it's actually a good idea to change sys.prefix. I think in terms of the semantics of sys.prefix, leaving it pointing to the actual location of the standard library and full python installation might be more sensible, and introducing a new sys.virtual_prefix or some such to point to the virtual environment
The determinant here is whether there are more tools that currently rely on sys.prefix to find site-packages, or to find the standard library. In Python itself, outside of distutils/sysconfig it appears to me that it's the latter. And as far as I'm aware, external tools that need to find site-packages generally rely on site.py and distutils/sysconfig to find it, and we can make sure both of those do the right thing wrt a new sys.virtual_prefix.