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Distribution: Debian Etch (w/ dual-boot XP for gaming)
This isn't so much a matter of distributions, as it is of your Linux kernel. The later kernels have NTFS write support as an option; however, last time I checked, this was marked as EXPERIMENTAL. In other words, it's believed to work pretty well, but they can't guarantee it won't trash your entire drive. It's a bit like the kernel releases in general; whether you want to go for more features at the risk of stability, and is entirely up to you.
Nothing wrong with mounting it automatically. But just don't enable write support...I think you need to recompile the kernel for that anyway. Enabling write support will probably mess up your entire partition (perhaps even your whole drive) and is not recommended at all.