You must be referring to Linux Mint (KDE version).
Fedora & OpenSUSE have always had the best OS installers (compared to LM, Ubuntu or Windows).
Linux Mint 17.1 MATE uses the identical installer to Linux Mint 17 MATE.
It also runs as a Live CD/DVD/ISO.
You must be referring to Windows Server.
The Windows Desktop installer installs what MS thinks it should install.
There are no software install options in Windows.
Every Linux Distro I've tried (even Linux Mint 17.1 MATE) gives you the option to move various folders to other locations.
That's something that MS' professional cadre of highly paid coders haven't been able to achieve for the last 15 years.
Even with all of the "bloat" installed, Linux Mint 17.1 MATE:
- Uses ~50% of the HDD space that an "empty" Windows Desktop install uses.
- Takes the same amount of time that an "empty" Windows Desktop install takes.
It took ~20 minutes to install the OS (including the "bloat") plus another ~10 minutes to download & install the updates.
The disk usage increased by 300 MB after the updates.
After you have installed Windows, you then have to spend extra time installing Windows Updates, MS Office, VLC & Adobe CC which probably takes at least 1 hour.
Windows also caches the extra Windows Features so you can install them later.
So if you don't use them (or know about them) they just "sit around" clogging up the OS partition.
My W10TP VM is using ~3.5x as much space as Linux Mint 17.1 MATE VM (18 GB vs 5 GB).
Windows Desktop is already completely configured by MS.
You have to customise it after the install has finished (the W8 series and W10 offer some options during the final setup step).
You can install KDE using Synaptic.
You can then use Synaptic to uninstall any of the other stuff you don't want.
The other versions Of Linux Mint have always been released some time after MATE and Cinnamon.
Looking at the list (last time) it took a month before KDE and Xfce versions were released.