Adam - Everything is back to it was. I really cannot thank you enough!
Added later: The iLiad has to be updated twice. The first time it goes to 2.10 then it goes to 2.12 by downloading it from the server. It is sometimes easy to mistake the fact that it hasn't gone to 2.12 yet, so you can't reinstall software yet. The other thing I should write for other n00bs who read this is that the second firmware update frequently says that there is not enough battery to do the flash. So the second flash to 2.12 must be done with the power cord attached.
This is also a very important step in the process:-
"I initially have the same problem as I could not power off my Iliad. It went through a continuous cycle of rebooting. What I did was to press the reset button at the back during the time that my Iliad went blank (before it starts rebooting again - you have to do it fast). It broke the cycle and my Iliad was powered off."
I am still finding installing software on the iLiad is precarious. I had a lot of ported programs working. But Abiword was horribly slow, FBReader broke permanently so it would not read RTF files, and the registry file checker kept telling me that the registry entry was duplicated somewhere.
So I decided to reflash. Immediately Newlister was gone. (I have yet to get this back and I still don't have the MRVXT shell!) Before reflashing again, I ran the registry checker application in mvrxt and nothing associated! Next time after I reflashed and reinstalled the iLiad just kept rebooting. So I had to reset it again!
I am putting together a wish list of all the things I want to work properly on my iLiad and compiling a subfolder of all these install programs on my MMC card so that I can always come back to them when everything goes wrong!
So far so good. Thanks to Adam and co for all the great development!