tipfy mentions to make sure you have 2.5 installed on your system to avoid strange errors down the road

download and install zlib from source before compiling python source:
http://www.zlib.net/

sudo apt-get install libssl-dev

for ubuntu, this is a good reference for installing from source:
http://welcometoubuntu.blogspot.com/2010/05/howto-install-python-255-on-ubuntu-1004.html

which says:

sudo apt-get install build-essential gcc
cd Downloads
wget http://www.python.org/ftp/python/2.5.5/Python-2.5.5.tgz
tar -xvzf Python-2.5.5.tgz
cd Python-2.5.5
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/python2.5
make
make test
sudo make install
sudo ln -s /usr/local/python2.5/bin/python /usr/bin/python2.5

setuptools:
sudo bash setuptools-0.6c11-py2.5.egg
/usr/local/python2.5/bin/easy_install-2.5


http://code.google.com/p/googleappengine/issues/detail?id=19

sudo /usr/local/python2.5/bin/easy_install-2.5 pyopenssl

also [2010.07.11 21:29:47]
sudo /usr/local/python2.5/bin/easy_install-2.5 ssl
needed to download this manually
http://pypi.python.org/pypi/ssl

tar zxvf ssl-1.15.tar.gz
sudo python2.5 setup.py install

Go to ${PYTHON_HOME}/lib/python2.4/site-packages/ssl and delete the __init__.pyc file. Now fire up a Python shell and try "import ssl" again.

still getting
AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute 'HTTPSHandler'