"Which probably means I'd being using 26bit for ever ... "
Or until you make the move to a 32bit machine such as the Iyonix and A9home or possibly the beagleboard when the OS is finished. If you then still need to use your old software, you could purchase Aemulor.
Personally, I can't say I need to use any old software on a regular basis. However these days there are other means such as RPCEmu.