Enhancing A Photos Dynamic Range

I've been following a couple of articles recently which deal with the concept of dynamic range in film and imaging sensors. The articles are found at The Digital Photography Weblog and Luminous Landscape.
The Digital Photography Weblog article briefly introduces the concept, but the Luminous Landscape article does a good job of explaining it more fully. In brief the issue has to deal with the differences between how film and digital handle dynamic range. According to the articles, film has a more forgiving and smoother transition in the upper and lower ends of film exposure whereas digital has a comparatively linear response (I'm not entirely convinced in this I believe it may vary on the sensor being used, although I do believe film does have more range). The articles are definitely worth the read. The Luminous Landscape article stresses that the techniques used in this methodology are only relevant if you use RAW images to work from.
I remember back in 1992 meeting and working with a German Company called Color Concepts which had an enhanced Kodak PhotoCD Acquisition tool which did something similar to what is being discussed in these articles. The images created with their PhotoCD tool were much more vibrant and had more info than those from the standard PCD tools and drivers on the market.