It is good practice to make a small (100mb or so) /boot partition at the beginning of your drive, preferably /dev/hda1 or /dev/sda1 if your using a scsi drive.
For details why, see http://wiki.debianhelp.org/pmwiki.ph...natomy/BootDir
Note: Even though ""modern"" BIOS's don't have this problem... My laptop does, and it was made in 2002. So I suggest to just take the extra 10 seconds out and partition a little 100mb /boot partition.
I partition my drives like so:
Where /data is my proxy cache, email accounts, ftp accounts, et cetera.
Separate partitions or volumes have the following advantages:
* You can choose the best performing filesystem for each partition or volume
* Your entire system cannot run out of free space if one defunct tool is continuously writing files to a partition or volume
* If necessary, file system checks are reduced in time, as multiple checks can be done in parallel (although this advantage is more with multiple disks than it is with multiple partitions)
* Security can be enhanced by mounting some partitions or volumes read-only, nosuid (setuid bits are ignored), noexec (executable bits are ignored) etc.
I understand this is just a desktop system and you don't have many services running, but what if you install a new file or accidently start a service, an error occurs and it fills your drive completely, / and all. Now you have to use the rescue CD, search the culprit, delete the file and kill the service. OR, you can not by setting a separate partition. Up to you. I agree its just easy to make a big / partition, but it is not secure.
As for your fragmentation question, see http://www.linux-sxs.org/housekeeping/frag.html
PS- All of this information [save my notes] can andwas found using www.google.com