I'm thinking of doing something similar for Mint 8, since I'm thinking to try ext4 now that it's stablising a bit. I'm still very inexperienced at partitioning so not quite clear on a few things. What I would like is a separate data partition, as you (and others) suggest, separate from /. So, the things I don't fully understand are:
1) The default 'guided' installation mounts at / and makes /home part of /, not mounted as a separate partition. Are there advantages to mounting /home as a distinct partition from / or is that merely a matter of preference?
2) I understand that the / partition needs to be a primary partition and flagged as bootable. If I used a /home partition, would it be marked as primary as well, or extended? Would a data partition be primary as well? If /home was to be extended, would data be a logical partition within the extended partition? What's the most preferred way to go when going the simple route?
3) Where to mount a data partition and how to label it. Looking at the mountpoint choices available in Gparted, I see mainly /, /home, /usr, /var, /mnt, etc, without much room to customise. What's the best way to mount a data partition?
I did try making a data partition on my laptop's drive, and though it, uh, sort of works, it definitely isn't pretty
So yeahhhhhh, a little help appreciated before I go screwing up my precious desktop machine
Please talk slowly for the timid person, I'm not brave without hand-holding