This box is at least 5 years old. That's forever in PC years. And if I don't "need" the swap partition, is there any particular reason to eliminate it? Oh wait, I'm about to double my RAM, so the existing partition is about to be half the recommended size.

What you're saying about why the /home partition isn't standard makes sense. I still want the nuke-and-pave option, though. Would have saved me a couple days with of work over the last few weeks if I'd had it.