but could Nikon encrypt the NEF !!!!!!!!!! ie force the use of capture even though it would be bad marketing & publicity ?
After the white balance encryption hulabaloo, Nikon agreed to cooperate with Adobe. So presumably if Nikon encrypted its NEF files, they would still tell Adobe how to unencrypt them. Of course, there's no guarantee that this cooperation will continue forever.
Bear in mind that Adobe is also the one who makes the NEF-to-DNG converter, so if Nikon should
ever actually decide to thumb its nose at Adobe, you wouldn't be able to produce DNGs from the new NEF files. Unless someone else produced a NEF-to-DNG converter that could handle it.
So is a DNG a generic Adobe RAW file with added features like XMP ? If so then can you still use RSP, lightroom or bible to convert from the DNG RAW to say TIF ?
Not all software supports DNG the same. As Peter Krogh already noted, Bibble only supports DNG for cameras that produce DNG natively. RSP only supports DNG for cameras that it supports in Raw form. Which means that RSP can't handle a DNG made from a D80 NEF file.
I feel I am missing something here or is it really just this simple ? Same data just in a different format
A small but important detail is that unlike NEF files, DNG files also contain the camera's color profile. This allows programs to render the Raw data in a DNG even if they never heard of the camera. SilkyPix can do this, but RSP wasn't programmed to use that data (which is why RawShooter can't handle D80 DNGs).
That color profile has to come from somewhere. For now, for cameras that don't natively generate DNG, it comes from Adobe's measurements of some test cameras. It's possible that Canon and Nikon are reluctant to release their official color profiles to the public.