A lot of this depends on distrobution. NTFS support, at least read-only, has been in the kernel since mid-2.2.x, but most of the major distros didn't put it in as a module in their default shipping kernel until a major version later. I think for RH it first appeared as a default module in 6.2, Slackware I know it was in 7.0, the rest I'm fuzy on, but its part of the default in all of them now. Also, depending on distro, daemons like mountd may or may not be allowed to call for the loading of modules. Probably all you need to do is: insmod ntfs, and then go ahead and mount the drive as normal (just like you had it). There's a lot of scuttlebutt as to how un-stable leaving that module in the running kernel actually makes things. Basically, read-only; no problem in 2.4.x but kinda iffy in 2.2.x. Since 2.4.3 (I think), there has been write support, but using that is just a bad idea unless you want to hose your NTFS partition.
Read-write support for NTFS is probably going to kick off in a big way now that everyone and their dog has a dual boot win2k/XP+Linux box.