Why doesn't Linux need defragmenting?

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HowTos

It's a question that crops up with depressing regularity: Why don't Linux filesystems need to be defragmented?. Here's my attempt at answering once and for all.

Rather than simply stumble through lots of dry technical explanations, I'm opting to consider that an ASCII picture is worth a thousand words. Here, therefore, is the picture I shall be using to explain the whole thing:

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