I'm just reading this thread in more detail. Sorry for this latecomer message.
A few tips for that very first time you boot linux on a linuxbios machine:
1) when booting linuxbios on a new machine, ALWAYS configure the
kernel as an i386. It's just safer that way. Turn off everything you can.
make sure what you're doing would work on a 1990-era PC.
2) always enable serial and, before you try linuxbios, run
minicom on the machine and make sure serial REALLY works.
This is also a good cable test. Take nothing for granted.
3) If it's legal where you live,
always burn a copy of the fuctory bios and boot with that,
to ensure your burn path is totally working.
Again, if it is legal where you live, keep a spare
copy of fuctory bios around for that inevitable time when you
screw up and flash over it.
4) never try VGA on the first time around. It adds too much
5) use earlyprintk! earlyprintk=ttyS0,115200,keep
6) learn to use initramfs, and have it boot a simple shell
(I'm just getting the hang of this, but it's very useful)
(you can write a shell in surprisingly small space)
7) spontaneous reboots almost always mean that
you have the wrong cpu type. See note (1) above.
very quick reboots are a good hint that memory is
getting errors. Lockups are a sign of bad memory
programming (you wouldn't believe some of the failures
I've seen) or you've got an old VIA chipset with a bug :-)
For any but the worst reboots, earlyprintk is a big help.