"My reading of the first paragraph contracts the meaning you are assigning to it. Separately distributed GPL softloading modules do not affect the status of other modules or the kernel, but a distributing a ROM image 'a whole work' comprising of some GPL modules and/or a GPL kernel would come under the clause"
No, the distribution in binary form is not what is meant by that paragraph, as is clearified in the last pragraph I quoted from the GPL. So my point still stands, that we could use the Linux kernel as a new kernel for RISC OS, _without_ the risk of having to put legacy RISC OS modules or applications under the GPL as well. To make that absolutely certain, we only have to ensure, that the modules and applications (in source form) will still work with the legacy kernels as well.
I am certainly not evangelising the GPL, it is just another licence. However it would be useful to bring Linux' hardware support to RISC OS. With the RISC OS sources becoming available, it will become a lot easier to make native builds of RISC OS for different hardware architectures, once a cross-assembler and an interface-layer between a Linux kernel and RISC OS modules has been created. An ARM emulator could be integrated into non-ARM RISC OS versions that provides compatibility for legacy applications wich are not developed anymore.