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I always keep an empty partition of the same size a my / partition. That way when a new version comes along I can do a fresh install and get it fully working before I swap over to my "working" system. i.e. / for 13.1 is currently sda3 for 13.0 it was sda1 and for 13.2/14.0 it will also be sda1. This way I always have a fully working backup system (as long as I don't get a hardware failure - then I have to use the XP laptop - yuch!).
Location: Northeastern Michigan, where Carhartt is a Designer Label
Distribution: Slackware 32- & 64-bit Stable
I do it this way so I can do a clean install of a new release without having to copy everything off to another server or back up media (I just don't format the non-root partitions when doing the fstab part of the installation -- saves a whole lot of time and trouble):
I know, having sub-directories in / violates LSB or posix or whatever, but I'm lazy. I had mp3, video and stuff in /usr/local/ some time ago, but soon I got tired and symlinked to /, and eventually just ended up mounting them directly at the root.
And another thing, since guanx mentioned sectors. I wasn't aware that some sections were more likely to get corrupt, but the seek-time in the other region of the plate is less then on the inner part. Before I changed to SSD, I always had /home at the end.
I agree with the people above: it's whatever floats your boat. For my own computer, I see no reason to separate / from /home, since instead of preventing one partition from overflowing, now I have to watch two, or three, or whatever, and space gets wasted at the same time. What I found really useful, though, is having at least two similarly sized partitions around, both ready for a GNU/Linux install (e.g., ext3 or ext4). The spare one can be used to test and possibly migrate to a different distribution, and also serves as a place for large temporary files (my Downloads folder links to that). Right now I actually have them on two different hard drives, which really simplified my last Ubuntu -> Slackware migration.