I found that our Samsung BN59-00857A remote worked fine with an existing lircd.conf configuration file for the BN59-00856A. (Actually the 00856 includes a few additional buttons not on the 00857; several of these work for controlling our TV even though they're not on our OEM remote!)
When it came to controlling our GE air conditioner, I didn't find any existing configuration file. The process of getting a working config file together was a little more involved than I expected, so I'm detailing it here and posting the resulting config (also sent it to the LIRC maintainers, but didn't hear anything back).
I knew from running mode2 that raw signals from the AC remote were being received correctly. But I wasn't able to get irrecord to pick up the AC remote signals even when forcing it into raw mode. It turns out that the GE AC remote has an unusually long code length, 48 bits, so maybe that was part of the issue. I'm also not clear on whether my irrecord was going into raw mode correctly; seemed to behave exactly like non-raw mode so maybe there's a problem with the version built for Raspbian?
Anyway, to get a config file, I had to pipe the mode2 raw data to text files and then manually pull the text into a raw conf file and filter out the "pulse" and "space" text (thanks vim). I confirmed that the resulting raw file works for controlling the AC through LIRC. Then I used irrecord -a to retroactively convert the raw codes into a more succinct config file. Looking at the various wall mount ACs GE sells, it seems likely to me that these codes will work for any unit since the controls all look the same. (If you have a heat+cool unit then you'll be missing the "heat" button since my AC doesn't have that.)
Hope it's useful. If you want the raw version of the conf file for some reason, just ping me for it.
# this config file was automatically generated # using lirc-0.9.0-pre1(emulation) on Sat Mar 2 14:09:22 2013 # # contributed by Peter Li # # brand: GE # model no. of remote control: # devices being controlled by this remote: All the GE wall mount air # conditioners look like they have very similar controls, so I would guess this # will work for all. It will probably also work for the Heat/Cool wall models, # other than the missing heat button, but I haven't tried that. # begin remote name GE_AirConditioner bits 48 flags SPACE_ENC eps 30 aeps 100 header 3388 1678 one 430 1257 zero 430 412 ptrail 428 gap 40991 toggle_bit_mask 0x0 begin codes on_stop 0x555AF308598F cool 0x555AF3081D8F fan 0x555AF3085D8B tempup 0x555AF308D987 tempdown 0x555AF308198B timeron 0x555AF308D58B timeroff 0x555AF308958F hi 0x555AF308DD83 mid 0x555AF3083D8D low 0x555AF308BD85 sleep 0x555AF3085583 end codes end remote