To hear him tell it two weeks ago, Larry Ellison’s Oracle had everything you need for search technology; no need for that legacy search platform, Autonomy. In fact, Oracle and Mark Hurd had quite a few unflattering things to say about HP and that search technology acquisition.

Now, it turns out, flattery may be part of the equation after all, in the form of imitation. Oracle today announced its intent to acquire the second-biggest proprietary legacy search software provider, Endeca. Suddenly, the enterprise software market is all about unstructured data and analytics, Oracle’s even announced a NoSQL appliance, several months after debunking it. Mere months ago, here’s what Oracle had to say (cited thanks to

“The NoSQL databases are beginning to feel like an ice cream store that entices you with a new flavor of the month,” this whitepaper read. “[But] you shouldn’t get too attached to any of the flavors because it may not be around for too long.”

Let’s stop for a minute. What if you had bet your company’s business critical search processes on one of these legacy commercial software providers? Ask any former legacy PeopleSoft or Siebel customers who now found themselves with a new, less friendly landlord. Suddenly, you’ve got far less influence on the software roadmap, revisions, releases — or even choices. Commercial software providers are proving a risky choice, because next thing you know, they’ve vanished into a company that is not about to give you choices. So much for flavor of the month.

If you haven’t already figured it out, think about it: with open source, no one can really buy your vendor, because you’re in it for the technology. You hold the keys to your own future. Considering the big data that’s in everyone’s future, open source search is looking like the safer bet.