I wonder if the problem with woody binaries could be incompatible versions of gcc: I know that when Mandrake switched from 2.95 to 3.something earlier this year, there were warnings that those of us running older systems might see mystery crashes if we tried to use RPMs compiled with the new compiler. And that there were some nasty problems with one version of nvidia drivers that were built with the wrong toolchain.
iirc, the problem was related to a change in subroutine calling conventions. If the changed feature isn't used much (like, say, passing floating-point numbers, which doesn't happen a lot in kernel calls), it would be possible for most apps to work just fine.
It's certainly worth comparing the versions of gcc folks are using to build, e.g., bigbrd's kernel and root filesystem with the ones used to build potato and woody.