Simple solution is the best
Just use the default settings of Ubuntu install, at let use the full drive and do its partitioning.
You will get one huge
/ partition and a
swap partition. This gives the most flexibility. Your application development data will reside in the subfolders of
/home/[user]/ folder. It can grow as big as you need it to be. Your mp3, video, PDF etc. will also be in subfolders of
Sharing files with Windows
I assume you want to share your files with a different Windows box in the local network. Samba is the best way to do it. just right click on the folder you want to share (such as Music) and select share... This will install Samba and anything else you may need. Installing Samba will also allow you to read and write to shared folders in the Windows box.
File ownership/ permissions work differently in Windows and Ubuntu and they do not translate well when files reside in FAT32 or NTFS partitions. Since there will be no Windows installation in the Ubuntu laptop, there is no advantage in making FAT32 / NTFS partitions onto which Ubuntu cannot write file permission information.
In the early versions of Ubuntu there were two options to upgrade. (a) upgrade directly from the existing installation. (b) Fresh install from Live DVD/USB. The first preserved the personal settings, and data, the second wiped everyting.
New versions of Ubuntu offers a third (c) choice of upgrading from Live DVD/USB. This preserves the
/homefolder combing the best of (a) and (b). This also means creating a separate
/home partition is not that important if you need to overwrite your Ubuntu installation.
Multiple partitions keep program and user data separate (Use your own settings)
Choosing Something Else during Ubuntu installation allows you to setup multiple partitions to your own liking. It also makes you decide the size of each partition.
I prefer a three partition setup:
/ to keep the OS and all the applications as well as any web server data (If you do web development). 46-48GB.
/home to keep all the user data, including music, application development etc. 450GB
Swap can be 2-4GB, just to keep Ubuntu happy.
This gives you the flexibility to reformat
/ and reinstall Ubuntu if you ever need to do it. Though it is not essential as new versions of Ubuntu gives the option to preserve
/home even when it is not a separate partition, during upgrade/reinstall from Live USB/DVD.
If you delve into web development, you may want to make
/ larger, as the web server data will go there. You don't have to figure out how much to
/ and how much to
/home if you go with the default installation and keep a single
Hope this helps