As for sticking with 2.6 and refusing to upgrade: really? Well, it's
your choice, of course, but there's no way I'd stick with an older
version just because of something that's so easily worked around

But what I am trying to explain is that they do not know that it is easily worked around. They see that it is forbidden to save non-xcf files, and so they (wrongly) suppose that they will have to use "export as" and select the filename every time when they want to save the opened file (which of course would be very bothering). They overlook the item "overwrite", which is not much intuitive (and moreover is seen only when a non-xcf file is opened), and do not realize that this is their old "save" in disguise. So they think that the new version is aimed only for the experts who are working primarily with xcf files, not for simple editing jpg and png files.
And when they read:

"We want GIMP to be a tool used by professionals who work on complex projects.
    This is our target audience, and it has certain workflows.
    We want to change GIMP to honor those workflows,"

then they take it as the confirmation of their impression.
And the release notes say:

"Saving an image can only be done in the XCF format which is GIMP’s native file format, able to save all kinds of information necessary for works in progress.
To export into other formats File->Export… needs to be used."

Although the release notes then say also:

"There are some optimizations for alternative workflows such as opening a jpg, polishing it, and quickly exporting back to the original file."

this still uses the word "export", so it may be misleading to user not accustomed with this new terminology.

Before these long explanations, I suppose that it would be much more understandable to write simply:

"Save" was renamed to "overwrite" (in the context of editing non-xcf files).
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