We’re going to start some more IR experiments at work and I was looking for a decent open-source full-text search engine to play with. SourceForge turns up a motley collection of overly-complex, overly-web-oriented software, chock full of PHP and SQL dependencies. People, let me tell you two things right now:

  1. PHP is the visual basic of the web. Use it, and no one will take you seriously.
  2. Putting a SQL backend on a search engine is like building a car around a winch motor. Yah, it’s really “powerful”. It’s also really “slow”.

The closest things I could find were htdig, which was way more web-specific and heavy-weight than I desired, and namazu, which had the advantage of Ruby support, but the disadvantage of being a buggy dead project.

Finally a colleague pointed me to Zettair, from the makers of Managing Gigabytes. It’s open-source, fast, simple, written in C, and extensible. It builds on a ton of platforms and has a C API. And these guys know what they’re doing. I can’t wait to start playing around with it.