I really don't know wether I want the kernel to "just work" in the sense of generating evdev events for any IR code received.
One reason is that IR codes are not standardized, I once had a TV remote that would turn up the volume on my HiFi amplifier when hitting the key for teletext. In other words: I could have a remote that has the same keycode for the "1" key as some other remote has for the "channel up" key. So which translation should the kernel provide as an evdev event?
The other problem is which remote codes I want the Linux machine to interpret and which ones I don't want it to "see". I don't want Linux to turn up the volume if I hit the "volume up" key on my amplifiers remote (or on my universal remote when in amplifier mode).
Which all boils down to: Even if the kernel could provide a standardized evdev interface for IR events, it would still require configuration. Also I sometimes want to have some IR events routed to one application and others to a different one, which is possible with current LIRC, but I don't see too many options how this could be done with an evdev interface, especially if none of those applications run under X11 (like my VDR and some background tools I control via IR right now).
All in all, I would probably prefer to have LIRC merged mainly "as-is", unless the evdev approach can tackle my "problems" above.