Please help me understand why that isn't already possible from Lightroom, someone suggested this in one of the other discussions --
Some how I feel that this explanation is not necessary, but in the interest of being kinder and gentler....
Yes, Isaac, what you say is conceptually true. However, it is against the workflow normal to these products and adds a level of work, complexity, and file management to LR that is only required if Adobe creats an "end of world" situation.
With Photoshop, the normal workflow is that, when you stop making changes...finished or not, you must save your work-in-process (WIP) to a PSD or, preferably, a TIFF. If you don't, you lose all your work. If you have saved it layered, you can go back and make changes or continue the work where you left off. Whether it has been flattened or not, all "modern" TIFF viewers can view it as if it were flattened...and/or print it. So, the fall back of having a view of the WIP or finished image is built in.
In Lightroom, all of your changes are saved as you make them...no action needed on your part. You can stop any time you want stop/start the program and be back where you left off. If you print, you have a print, but no TIFF, if you export to web site, email, etc. the normal process is to create the product to send in a temp. file, then delete....if you need to send again, you have all the info to recreate. If you 'edit in', a TIFF will be created to bring the changes back to LR, but most likely will have add'l changes made to it in LR, which will be saved in the catalog. The above is true to virtual copies. You also have in depth history, long with snapshots which could provide alternate views of the alternate finish product capabilities.
So, if you have 30,000 images that have been processed in PS, you probably have 30,000 "finished" TIFFs. If you have 30,000 images which were processed 100% in LR, you would not have any TIFFs...or jpegs, for that matter.
So, you "solution", while conceptually possible, is, to me, not feasible and would works against the strength of LR. And this has nothing to do with data storage, I, and others, have lots of TB spinning. I would be interested in other LR users to see what their feelings are.
Somehow, I suspect you know all this already...