openSUSE is known by it's YaST control center, a powerful tool that centralizes all the system configurations. It makes it a lot simpler to configure the system, why doesn't Ubuntu make use of such a thing?
YaST was built to work with RPM packages, one of the two most popular package formats. Ubuntu, along with all Debian variants, use DEB packages and their related tools (dpkg/apt) for package management. Also, as another user mentioned, there are functional replacements for most (all?) of YaSTs features in synaptic , aptitude , and software-center . Most of YaSTs configuration functionality is present in GNOME as far as I am aware.
I know its not YAST but control centre can handle almost all the Preferences on a Gnome environment.
Gnome has its own control centre which is disabled on ubuntu by default but you can enable it.
System > preferences > main menu Now go to the system tab and check box on control central and close
Now the control centre should be available under places menu, there you can set preferences for almost all the applications on ubuntu.