If you don't protect your intellectual property now, you risk having your business sacked by open source-touting bandits.

Yes, SCO head Darl McBride is back and he's still angry. This time he was warning an audience of tech industry leaders, analysts and investors at the Etre conference in Cannes.

McBride, whose anti-Linux crusade is mired in litigation with IBM among others warned of the "high stakes" if companies in the software and music businesses don't protect their property now. "Once you put something in digital form, it's easy to copy. My question for you is: how are you going to respond if that happens to your IP?" McBride, never one not to carried away, then likened the current situation between open source proponents and proprietary companies to the Wild West.

SCO of course is claiming that its proprietary Unix source code is being used in the Linux kernel without paying a license to SCO. As the company fights a prolonged legal battle on several fronts to try to prove its claims - thanks almost entirely to McBride's approach - the increasingly isolated CEO has decided to try to portray himself as the champion of IP protection.

"SCO's market share has dropped from 40 percent to 10 percent," he went on. "We are under attack from what I call 'hurricane Linux'." He praised companies that had commercialised Linux, and then tried to argue SCO's battle was one for the whole industry.

"The open source movement says that proprietary software shouldn't exist. They say that the operating system should be free, but that's a slippery slope," McBride said. "There's 12 million developers worldwide, are you gonna let their work be free?"

Audience members were reluctant to stand behind SCO though. "I think it's clear to us that people can't give away things for free forever," said conference organiser Alex Vieux. McBride said that his company would soon be erecting a website to set out SCO's side of the story.

Why they haven't done so already, so far into the legal battle, is a matter of conjecture. Although IBM has repeatedly claimed that SCO's repeated calls for more material is an indication that it is doing little more than fishing for information in the hope of finding something incriminating.