Thanks. I knew I was on the ragged edge with WD 1.5 TB and linux, but it has NTFS support, and I can put up with the modest performance hits I see. I am only using the drive as a secondary storage.
Since I am using the NTFS support only in Ubuntu 8.10, such as it is, I am not using the WD Smartware stuff at all, so I expect that my use of the WD is not optimal. I havn't had the FS go RO. due to corruption, but once more and it was sufficient to boot into Vista but once to fix that, the partition came up clean, which means vista must do a filesystem check when it mounts the device. I havn't had any problems since except that I notice that the drive has to be "kicked" to do a disk usage (du) in linux. Remember that NTFS is POSIX compliant so that it should understand how to provide info to the du command in Linux.
Quite often if I update the FS, the drive will not respond to du equivalant function in the file manager. I use nautalus under gnome. I need to go up to the containing dir or even the mount point with the file mgr. to persuade the drive to update the property I'm seeking, namely the size of a subtree. Actually what I am saying is not strictly accurate. I am only assuming that the file browser calls du. The issue is that the drive does not tell the file manager what it is asking for right away. It needs to be persuaded. As I think about this, I realize that maybe I need to try all of this from the shell in a terminal, and see if the drive responds better there than in the file manager. It could afterall be a natalus problem. I say all of this to help the engineering guys deal with linux.
I think that this is a variant of the complaint that the WD drive is slugish or not responsive.