I've got modprobe version 2.4.22, good enough?
I've tried compiling in the ethernet card and having it as a module, doesn't work either way.
I'm not using the 2.6 kernel for anything heavy duty, just a single user home computer playing around with it for fun.
I checked out this 2.6 howto
and I've get everything up to date on the list.
Still stuck, but I'll keep looking.