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Hello there, I had a most perplexing problem installing any distro of i386 linux on an older Acer Aspire laptop that had a 64 bit AMD processor, in theory, i386 distros should work on 64 bit processors, but this time it refused to install. Either I would get a system lockup during the install boot process or I would get some kind of ACPI or other kernel error. Then I tried the 64-bit version of OpenSUSE 9.0 and it installed and ran with no problem. Have you tried 64-bit distros? If not, give it a shot.
My son has an Acer Aspire 3050. I want to load it with a Linux distro but haven't found one that loads quick and easy. I have tried Debian (my favourite at this time), Puppy and Ubuntu without any luck. They seem to hang before really getting started with the install.
I want one that is a pretty easy install because I know he will be doing it again. He seems to get Windows Vista all bunged up on it pretty quick.
I have 3050 and I installed SUSE 10.2 on it fine.. I never tried anything above that but I am sure OpenSUSE would work great as well.