I honestly think this comes down to a question of preference, or personal taste. I am a developer and spend most of my day editing source code. Personally, I really like file tabs and absolutely dislike the sidebar (which is why it is hidden by default for me).
This is the exact opposite to your preferences. Simply put, some people like tabs, some people don't.
I think Jon has made a very reasonable compromise by making things customizable, allowing all of us to have SublimeText the we way we like it by setting a few simple preferences. If you don't like tabs, simply turn them off. Pretty simple.