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The main stumbling block I had to overcome to get various flavors of Linux to install as a guest OS on a Qemu instance, running on an OpenBSD source, was to disable APIC, not be confused with ACPI.

With Arch Linux you do this:

  1. boot the Arch Linux CD (in your Qemu guest)
  2. press tab to config the boot command
  3. add a space and then ‘noapic’ to the boot command
  4. press Enter to boot
  5. install Arch Linux on your Qemu guest hard drive
  6. add the ‘noapic’ parameter to boot command in your boot config, e.g. /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg