It is my understanding that on a desktop/laptop for normal, personal use (not servers or for other specialized tasks), one of the primary benefits of having
/home on its own partition is keeping the user's files and quite a lot of application configuration files between re-installs (as novice Linux users are wont to do when trying different distributions or simply screwing up badly). Apart from files the user deliberately puts in
/home, I have unfortunately not been able to dig up a lot of information on what exactly is stored (or not stored) there. It seems to me that some kinds of configuration files are kept in
/etc, but I don't know if these are desirable to keep when reinstalling.
I have two questions. I realize no definite answer can be given, but there might exist some de facto design choices in the Linux development world which could yield somewhat concrete answers not unfit for this site.
Is it reasonable to assume that applications store configuration files (of the kind desirable to keep between re-installs) only in
Is it reasonable to assume that in most cases, applications (re-)installed after a system reinstall will recognize existing configuration files and continue functioning more or less as before?
If the answer to any of the above questions are "no", how can headache be minimized when reinstalling and wishing applications to function as before?