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Novell Inc. is an American software company that develops and sells networking software The company was originally founded in 1979 as "Novell Data Systems, Inc." in Provo, Utah, but is today headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Novell is listed on NASDAQ under the ticker NOVL and employed 5,006 people as of 2006. The company has revenue of US $961 million, and made a net loss of $8.48 million for the year to April 2007.

Novell's original product was a hardware-based network server, but in 1983, the company switched to software, releasing the first version of the Novell NetWare network operating system. At the same time, the company shortened its name from Novell Data Systems, Inc. to simply Novell Inc. During the 1980s, Novell NetWare became the leading PC network operating system.

In the first half of the 1990s, Novell positioned itself to compete head-to-head with Microsoft, acquiring Unix System Laboratories from AT&T and the associated UNIX operating system, as well as the WordPerfect word processing software, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet, and the DR-DOS DOS operating system. However, during 1995 to 1996, many of these assets were sold off to various other companies: some UNIX assets (the amount is disputed) to the Santa Cruz Operation (who in turn later sold those to Caldera who subsequently renamed themselves "The SCO Group"), DR-DOS to Caldera (as mentioned, now called The SCO Group), and WordPerfect and Quattro Pro to Corel. At the same time that these events were going on, Novell also found that it was facing severe competition against NetWare from new Microsoft products.

Since 2003, Novell has gradually began to enter the Linux market, with the acquisition of Ximian (a developer of open source desktop applications) and SuSE (a Linux distributor). Since this time, Novell has released many new products, as well as, in 2005, helping found (together with IBM, Red Hat, Philips, and Sony) the Open Invention Network, an organization that acquires patents with the aim of using them to protect Linux and other open source software against patent infringement cases.

Novell has also found itself in the middle of SCO's allegations concerning Linux, and was in fact sued by SCO in 2004 (Novell has also filed its own counterclaims against SCO). The dispute originally arose because SCO claimed that Novell transferred UNIX copyrights to Santa Cruz in 1996, but Novell claimed to have retained the copyrights. Furthermore, when SCO sued IBM (including IBM's Sequent subsiduary), alleging breach of contract, Novell claimed it had a right to waive the alleged breaches, whereas SCO claimed that Novell did not have such rights. Various other matters have also been added to the case, such as whether SCO owes Novell licensing fees that it collected, and whether Novell's SuSE Linux activities violate agreements between Novell and SCO. At the time of writing (Summer 2007) many of these issues are still to be resolved, however on August 10th 2007, presiding Judge, Dale Kimball, did rule on some of the issues: "the court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights", and that Novell "is entitled, at its sole discretion, to direct SCO to waive its claims against IBM and Sequent, and SCO is obligated to recognize Novell's waiver of SCO's claims against IBM and Sequent."

The open source community has generally been supportive of Novell, in their dispute with SCO, however an agreement that Novell made with Microsoft in November 2006 has proved more controversial. Some critics have felt that the patent cooperation clauses of this deal went against the spirit of open source licensing, and in fact the Free Software Foundation has tried to design the GPL version 3 in such a way as to prevent new deals of this type in future.

  Summary
  Name: Novell Inc.
  Main Web Site: www.novell.com
  Founded: 1979
  Business: Computer Software
  Traded On: NASDAQ
  Ticker: NASDAQ: NOVL
  Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts
  Employees: 5,006 (2006)
  Revenue: US $961 million (to April 2007)

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