Just this week I went through the process of setting up an LIRC config. IN my case I have an MCE IR receiver, but for various reasons I'm not using an MCE Remote, and didn't want to use an MCE protocol. With LIRC, I could (with a bit of work) specify a config file that maps an RC-5 protocol with a bunch of special buttons to something usable by MythTV. I could never have done that in Windows, and I hope they keep the flexibility of being able to use the hardware to its fullest potential should they move stuff into the kernel. I had the fun of trying to tweak a v4l kernel module for a TV card with a built-in IR receiver a few years back to not send key-repeats so quickly, and it involved writing a bunch of code and a lot of trial and error. Using LIRC's config files is a joy in comparison.