I have tested "dbus-1" - "hald" - "gnome-volume-manager" - "2.6 -kernel" combination recently. Even though I've had some problems with it (media lockups) it seems to work adequately. I still don't trust it - although I don't yet trust any automounter daemons
With Gentoo or Mandrake you might be using "supermount". I've tried "autofs" and it works, but is (or was) rather clumsy. There is also something that's called "submount", but I have not tried that myself.
As what comes to /etc/fstab and the option "noauto"... it simply means that the filesystem is not mounted _at boot time_. It is completely unrelated to volume automounting.