Python MapScript never worked (and I didn't have a good test to figure that out). Until now. The source of the problem was FastCGI support for the mapserv CGI – CGI functions are part of the main framework instead of just the mapserv program, and the framework then won't load from python because part of the Apache environment is missing (or something like that).
I had tried a couple things to move CGI stuff out of the framework, with no success. So, I decided to drop fastcgi from MapServer completely. And, recent discussion on the MapServer mailing list pointed out that there is only a miniscule performance gain with fastcgi anyways.
I also added quick tests for mapserv CGI and Python MapScript.
While rebuilding MapServer, I also noticed that the FreeType framework headers were configured wrong. There are now fixed. (This is a developer update only - there are no changes in the framework binary for end-users.)