As of this date I see lot of views, but no attempts at an answer. After spending considerable time floundering, we wound up doing the following:
We found that the offending line (<configuration xmlns=....) is meant to facilitate the development environment. See:
Hence, we could safely remove the xmlns attribute on the production server.
Other than that though, we kept running into problem further down the line with elements in the config file. We have done two things with the 1.1 applications:
1) Upgraded to ASP.NET 2.0. (usually after deep thought from IT staff)
2) For those sites that caused managers to tremble in fear when they thought about converting, we created an application pool for each 1.1 site that runs 2.0 in classic pipeline
. This has been stable with no difficulties.
Good luck to all future viewers of this post.