I have eventually managed to flash my webpal with the linux.flash.image using bigbrd's bootstrap procedure, and have Linux boot happily. I also made a root partition on a laptop drive from the Debian potato ARM base2_2.tgz package with a few extras - will expand it later. For now I want to get the network card running so I can login remotely.
I have a RTL8019-based ISA card which I have set to 0x300, irq=3. Verified working in a Linux PC. In the webpal, the boot messages show "NE *000 ethercard probe at 0x80400300: not found (invalid signature 42 42)"
I have seen mentions on the forum of using "0xbad" as a boot parameter for getting over this, but I don't grok the exact way it should be done (there seems to be some information missing). I have seen a mention of using "bad=0xbad" as a parameter for the module, but the kernel from bigbrd's site is monolithic, the driver is built-in. Should I add "ether=9,0x80400300,0xbad,0xbad,eth0" to the parameters partition as I have seen mentioned in another post?
BTW, the NIC is a very generic one, it doesn't have any manufacturer logo or model number, just a "made in China" on one side. It uses the RTL8019AS chip. The board layout is similar to the KNE20T.