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Novell Layoffs Cast A Cloud Over Big-Business Linux

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For big companies that want to use the Linux operating system and get business-level support, there are only two main options: Red Hat Inc. and Novell. And one of those looked shaky last week.

Novell hasn't found the trick to combining its once-successful NetWare business and the opportunities presented by Linux and open source. The company in August reported a 5% drop in fiscal third-quarter revenue from a year ago, to $290.2 million, and a 91% plunge in net income, to $2.1 million. In contrast, Linux rival Red Hat reported a 42% year-to-year increase in its most-recent quarterly revenue, to $65.7 million, with net income of $16.7 million.

In a tech market that likes to have choices, big-business Linux is looking more like a one-horse race.

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