Ah, you mean the need to click on a selected object to toggle the handles? I based that behavior on Inkscape and I guess I hoped it would be generally expected like that. But I see that for example Inkscape displays the following text in the status bar when you select an object: "Click selection to toggle scale/rotation handles". In the end, it would be good to provide such context-sensitive help, in addition to the manual which did mention this (though many other things still go undocumented).
I'm certainly also not opposed to adding a toggle between scaling and rotating on the tool bar. Thanks for bringing this up!