Installation of SuSE is quite easy and extremely flexible, although not entirely automated--SuSE begins with a default (base) package and allows you to modify package selection to suit your needs. You can also load a few pre-configured selections (with the usual server, workstation, and complete installation options), though one ought to customize even these configurations. It is easiest just to have three or four pre-configured installations (as with Caldera), but SuSE probably has a number of reasons for taking the custom installation approach. For one thing, SuSE is more complete than most other distributions (five CD-ROMs is a lot of software, and the new 6.2 apparently has six) and customization makes more sense when dealing with so much software. Also, SuSE does not aim to be ``Linux for Idiots'' and would lose much of its flexibility were it dumbed down for people who can't decide what software they want.
One benefit of SuSE's devotion to custom installation is that SuSE has developed a system which incorporates many packages into the menuing system of KDE. In addition, YaST knows what dependencies the packages (numbering about 1000 for 6.1 and 1300 for the brand-new 6.2) have, and can automatically install these dependencies. YaST keeps track of redundancies to warn a user against installing software packages that are too similar or would be unused. Also, YaST has good descriptions of the software packages, so you always know what you're going to get (well, except for the occasional !! HIER FEHLT DAS LABEL !!). In these areas, SuSE is unique. For example, Red Hat offers far fewer packages and mostly does not incorporate selected programs into menuing systems. Caldera also offers fewer packages, and while it effectively incorporates programs into KDE, it offers four installation packages and no custom option. However, Caldera's installation program, Lizard, is probably the easiest.