Rumors abound this week about an announcement by Autonomy of a pending acquisition target: OpenText. While the British answer to “meaning-based computing” has merely advised that they plan to announce an acquisition, some pundits have already labeled it “the last two remaining independent Enterprise Search and Content Management Players. ” Last? Not quite.

That said, the Autonomy juggernaut swallowing another rival in its succession of acquisitions reminds me of nothing so much as Larry Ellison’s hoovering up PeopleSoft, Siebel, Portal, Hyperion, BEA and Sun, among the most notable. And, perhaps, that the two share a reputation for being a joy to do business with. Not. Small matter of technology lock in: consolidation doesn’t seem to leave such a good taste, inevitable as one might argue it is.

Open source provides an antidote to Oracle’s consolidation of the database space, and the applications that ride that database — even where Oracle had to write a fat check to get its fingerprints on the leading open source database.

Consolidation in search? Open source is still the antidote to lock-in.