One of the reasons I keep coming back to LaTeX is that it does things for me that would require the same (or more) amount of work in other programs.
Just take a look at how much simpler tables of contents, figure and heading numbering and headers are in LaTeX, compared to the "standard" InDesign:
But so far this one is the best: Table of Contents:
There is also no automatic list of tables and list of images in InDesign (though you can do that in Word or OpenOffice).
Why do we need a whole post on a site called "indesignsecrets" just for figure numbering and cross-referencing?
Most of the time I've spent learning LaTeX was for something I really didn't need to do, and I can assure you just with a few hours of LaTeX crash course anyone can do most of their academic work.
Speaking of being at the mercy of buggy software, I just spent a full day's work (and was paid for it) to format headings, quotations and table of contents of a thesis. Word crashed several times, making me lose a lot of work every time and forcing to begin anew, saving my file at every modification. I inserted captions for some 50 images one by one, but then Word repeatedly crashed after I had tried inserting a simple "List of Figures".
LibreOffice doesn't even open the file, and crashes every time. iWork Pages opens it but with weird formatting.
You would suppose that inserting figures with Word or Pages would just be easier with a drag a and drop, but every time text flows with figures it makes formatting both together a nightmare.
And on top of all that, I was supposed to do copy-editing work on that thesis (grammar, spelling, style etc.). I wish I just had to read and mark spelling and grammar errors, specially if it was a printed or a plain text file (and it would be easier to read and correct a plain text file on screen).