Based upon the earlier work of James McKenzie, Greg Kroah-Hartman, and Bastien Nocera, Benjamin Tissoires has now provided a new patch ushering in the "AppleIR" driver for the Linux kernel.
The latest refinement to this driver is porting the Apple IR driver to the kernel's HID subsystem. There's also support for newer versions of Apple's IR receiver through a patch by another kernel developer, Alex Karpenko. Namely, the 2nd and 5th generrations of the Apple IR controller are now added to the support list.
The AppleIR driver for the Linux kernel is less than 400 lines of new code and supports the Apple infrared remote control on Apple computers from 2005 and onwards, including the original Apple TV, but not in the 2009 MacBook or Mac Pros.
With the Linux 3.10 kernel, the Apple IR kernel driver might finally be merged. The patch for now can be found on the Linux kernel mailing list.