Ya, that RISC OS program I gave up on recompiling as 32-bit? I couldn't stay away, and had to try again.
Got a lot further this time. Actually figured out why I was getting pointers into the 0-page.
But now I've hit another stumbling block and have cried for help on the ROOL forum.
We'll see if I get any response...
tldr: So the big problem turned out to be that Desklib is distributed with binaries that aren't ARMv7 friendly.
long version: Current Desklib is distributed for current cpus... but only for GCC as ELF binaries. It's the last official DDE Desklib that's not ARM7 friendly.
Apparently nobody cares enough to maintain an AOF package for Desklib.
I switched to Rick Murray's Desklib fork and all is happiness!
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko