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Novell: 'No One Can Stop Us From Selling Linux'

Responding to a report that its right to sell Linux is under scrutiny by a group that controls key parts of the open source operating system, a spokesman for Novell on Monday said the company does not expect to make any changes to its product line as a result of the tiff. "We're telling customers that no one can stop us from selling SUSE Linux," the spokesman said.

On Friday, news agency Reuters reported that the Free Software Foundation, which controls licensing rights for a number of components that are part of widely distributed Linux variants, including Novell's SUSE Linux, was considering changes to the public licensing system under which Linux is distributed.

It was reported that those changes would preclude the inclusion of Linux in third party distribution deals such as the one Novell recently signed with Microsoft and "ban" Novell from selling future versions of Linux.

Novell's spokesman called the Reuters report "speculation" and insisted that Novell's Linux business customers -- a roster that includes Wal-Mart -- are not in any legal jeopardy. "Our products are covered by the current licensing system. Even if there are changes going forward, that won't affect what our current customers have purchased," the spokesman said.

At issue is a marketing and distribution deal that Novell inked with Microsoft in November. Under the deal, the two companies pledged to work together to increase interoperability between Novell's Linux products and Microsoft's Windows products and to market the combination to businesses.

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