I have a Harmony 650 remote I am using for XBMC. I have it set up as a MCE remote in lirc using an HP ir usb receiver. When I run irw, not all of the keypresses are being picked up. I can see the red light flashing on the receiver, but nothing in irw. The only keys it is picking up are Channel Up, Channel Down, OK, 1, 2, and 3. I was considering using irrecord to create a custom lirc.conf file for the remote, but wanted to check if anyone had any ideas first.
I had a similar problem trying to get a remote working with MythTV on Natty. It seems that the kernel in Natty has IR remote capability built in and this should work with many types of IR remote. However, the problem is that the kernel maps some of the keys to keycodes greater than 256 and X can only handle keycodes in the range 0-255. I was eventually able to get my remote working by re-mapping the necessary keycodes to stay within this range. This is done using a utility called ir-keytable (in repository). It can also be used to track key presses instead of irw, which does not seem to work with the kernel driver.
Note that I did not need to install lirc to get this working.
Hope this points you in the right direction.