Thanks for the configuration information. I'd first suggest using a more recent version of the kernel (2.4.18 or higher) as these have support for the Via C3 processor.
Second, I'd also suggest configuring the kernel with the following options set/unset.
If you go for a newer kernel, select C3 as the processor type.
Disable SMP - it's a single processor ! Disable Power management - LinuxBIOS does not have any support at present. Set PCI access to DIRECT rather than ANY Disable the EtherExpress 1000 network card Enable the Via Rhine network card.
Until you get the kernel working, I'd also disable sound support.
I've also finally managed to track down the 'Unknown bootloader class' message to the mkelfimage utility (elf32-i386/convert_params.c).
Perhaps Eric Biederman can comment more on the problem.
Regards Mark Wilkinson.