I have (almost) solved this by going the D-BUS and HAL route.
When I stick in a CD or a Flash drive, they show up in media:/// It even detects an instertion of a new flash card on multi-card readers! That required unplug/replug od the reader before.
I generally followed the this DBus HAL for KDE wiki
Note, I went the pmount route. There was something unsettling about continuous changes to /etc/fstab if I went the other way.
3 quick notes if you are eager to start compiling.
1. DO NOT get the latest HAL and DBUS. They dont have the calls KDE 3.4 media kioslave relies on. I had lots of compiling grief going for DBUS 0.31 and HAL 0.5. Instead, go for latest DBUS 0.2x and HAL 0.4.x.
2. HAL WILL botch on kernel-headers (2.4 series) that came with Slack. Even the 2.6.10 headers Pat provided on CD2 (testing folder) HAL didn't like. I found somewhat un-borked headers (2.6.10 in my case) here (ftp) from Polish Linux Distro
3. The most fickle was HAL compile. with 2 head-scratchers:
a) The BLK*64 issue. The WIKI mentioned is already old. Headers were fixed already, but the problem remains because some other headers are botched > test compile fails. So GET trully good/well assembled headers.
b) You might have a scsi compile error when compiling the HAL if you go with PLD headers. Downgrade the sg.h headers a bit.
(almost) - devices automagically show up, but their names are ugly (ie swap shows up in it as DRV1_VOL1, and my flash card shows up as "_") I need to fiddle with the scripts more to make this look proper.
here is a screenshot
Not the nifty "Safely Remove" option on the flash drive.
I am going to either: make a guide and post it here, or submitt changes to the above-mentioned WIKI some time in the next few days. I am not going to provide binaries, as I cant guarantee the stability/reliability cause it was compiled on a Slack 10-10.1, customized headers mix.