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When you say "the DNG proper"

When you say "the DNG proper" are you referring to the XMP space? Or to the Adobe-generated tags? Isn't the EXIF data available to the third-party raw converter from the Adobe-created DNG? How specifically would you suggest modifying the spec, and/or modifying the behavior of the DNG converter?

Is there anything else you can put your finger on that is concrete? I hope we can agree that it is impossible for a live parametric rendering to be identical from program to program, and that the DNG presents the best current possibility for attaching universally accessible renderings to raw image data. I hope we can agree that the 1.2 extension made the format considerably more friendly to third parties. I also hope we can agree that full backwards compatibility of rendering engines is not going to happen. I hope we can agree that forward compatibility is the most important goal, and that there are some really imaginative solutions included in the DNG that are not found anywhere else.

I also hope we can agree that most of the other points you've identified are ones that are coming from the camera manufacturer side, such as the difficulty of parsing some encoded or encrypted data, and that camera manufacturers don't publish the spectral response of their cameras.

I'd say that if we are on the same page, a more appropriate title for the article, regarding DNG, would be "A few small suggestions for the next DNG spec" rather than "Path to Nowhere." I'll spend a lot of time undoing misconceptions that are spread with analysis like this one.