Marc and Bart Ė Thanks!
Information like this is exactly what I was looking for. Iíve been using Photoshop since about 1997 and havenít seriously looked at alternatives until now. While I know little about some of the software youíve mentioned it turns out Iíve been using a couple of your suggestions for quite a while already.
Finding Files and RAW conversion: I keep files organized in a folder structure thatís organized by both date and place, with separate folders for processed files that are organized the same way. Iíve used Breeze Browser for image browsing since it came on the market. It has a small footprint, is fast, inexpensive, and doesnít create any proprietary databases. Iíve never felt any need for Adobe Bridge and essentially havenít used it even though Iíve had it on my computer since it was introduced. In addition to browsing BreezeBrowser is also a decent RAW file converter. As believe it uses Canonís RAW conversion SDK so you get the same color rendition and quality as Canon DPP but with a much friendlier user interface. I use BreezeBrowser on a laptop in the field for quick conversions to see what Iíve got, and at home for finding files and occasionally for RAW conversion. The RAW converter is very basic but itís also very good. ACR is a lot more versatile, especially for problem images, but I sometimes struggle to get the same natural color rendition I get with just a few clicks in Breeze Browser. In addition I sometimes use DxO for RAW conversion. The lens/camera corrections are great if youíre using a supported combination, and in that case I think it can do a fantastic job of capture sharpening (though thatís not what they call it). I donít really like the user interface much, but once you get used to it the results can be wonderful. Due to its overall versatility my main RAW converter is still ACR, but I could get along fine without it given a few options like these.
Iíve also used Neat Image in the past and found it to be very good. I stopped using it years ago and havenít updated due to advances in ACR and Photoshop. That could easily change and there are a couple other noise reduction packages like Topaz that also seem very capable now. Some, again like Topaz, are PS plug-ins but they seem to also be supported by Corel, Photoline, and perhaps others.
Given the right collection of programs I could imagine myself in a world without Adobe today, except for the extensive masking and layering capabilities of Photoshop. Thatís a ďmust haveĒ for me, in addition to supporting all of my current PSD files. Hopefully there will be more than one company offering that sort of capability before CS6 becomes useless.
P.S. Nemo, FWIW I've literally never had a corrupt PSD file. There may be something else going on. I'd back everything up soon if I were you.