For the last 10 years, I have been asking people more knowledgeable than I, "How big should my swap be?" and the answer has always been "Just set it to twice your RAM and forget about it." In the old days, it wasn't much to think about — 128 megs of RAM means 256 megs of swap. Now that I have 4 gigs of RAM in my laptop, I find myself wondering, "Is 8 gigs of swap really necessary?" How much swap does the average desktop user really need? Does the whole "twice your RAM" rule still apply? If so, for how much longer will it likely apply? Or will it always apply? Or have I been consistently misinformed over the last 10 years?
...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.