I’ve just ‘hacked’ my Nikon Coolpix 2500 to run in raw mode, using cpixraw (on a Windows machine, alas). I can read the files with Dave Coffin’s dcraw. So far, it seems I’m getting a bit more extra detail than from the original JPEG files.
The only real disadvantage I can see is that for every picture I take, a regular JPEG and a raw file is created. The raw file is confusingly called *.jpg. I think I can live with this.