Are you suggesting that Netpliance had a pre-made BIOS to use and modified it according to their situation? I never thought about it that way. I don't think that's entirely true. My guess is that whoever made the BIOS (Netpliance, Award, whatever) had some sort of BIOS-Creation utility made by and for Award BIOS's. The way I imagine it, they have a program that asks them to select what hardware there is on the board, lets them set IO ports and addresses, and lets them choose settings that are appropriate for the board. I envision it much like compiling a Linux Kernel using MenuConfig. If they choose not to add support for a certain thing because it was never intended to be part of the computer/MoBo (such as the Floppy port, since that's what I'm learning the most about recently, or the TFT drivers), that wouldn't be "compiled" into the BIOS image, and therefore not in the BIOS at all. This seems to be the issue they've run into with the Floppy port... Not only was the option (to enable the drive and FDD controller) disabled permanently (originally), but apparently the actual floppy control routines aren't actually in the BIOS at all!
I've read a tiny bit of the CyberBlade Spec relating to the LCD, and I agree with you. The impression I got was that all you had to do was tell the chip that you have a TFT display installed and it would take care of the rest. The way this was done was with the address lines (I think it called them DRAM pins, but that didn't make any sense to me...). Logically, the computer should have no reason to NEED to know/control what type of display to use. The display is the display no matter what, or one would think. But, looking at the specs, it had different features available to different types of displays (CRTs, LCDs...). The OS/BIOS would NEED control over this in the case of a laptop, especially, which would have the possibility of using the built-in LCD, an external CRT, or both... switchable via a key-combination on the keyboard. (On my laptop you press Fn-F1 to switch display modes). However, it does seem silly to think that the OS/BIOS would need to have special control over what type of LCD or type of CRT is being used.
I don't know what to suggest about enabling a feature which isn't already available. Like I said before, I imagine they compile (assemble?) the BIOS specifically for the MoBo. If someone got hold of this utility, I'd bet we could add nearly anything we choose, assuming one could find the proper "drivers" or modify them appropriately. If this somewhat "modular" approach to the BIOS is true, there might be little blocks of code for different features which could be replaced and moved around as we pleased. I don't know much about that. I imagine this is what WildPencil means by his "Hybrid" BIOSs.
As WildPencil said before, legally speaking, we probably can't share these hybrid BIOSs among ourselves, since they contain code which was probably specifically licensed to that one particular motherboard that it was made for. On the other hand, software piracy is hardly even considered wrong by most people these days, it seems. And, this is really rather harmless (not like selling MS Office on the black market like some OEMs do, no matter how much MS deserves it). Just be warned, and be prepared to accept consequences should they happen.