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Novell had a pretty lackluster first quarter if you ignore a stunning $448m one-time gain from settling an antitrust suit with Microsoft.

The software maker reported revenue of $290m for the period, which compares to revenue of $267m in the same quarter last year. Favorable currency exchange rates gave Novell a $10m boost in this year's first quarter.

"Novell made steady progress on executing its strategy this quarter. We still have work ahead of us as we continue to reposition the company in our growth markets," said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell.

The company earned $392m or 90 cents a share during the first quarter. This total compares to $10m or 3 cents per share earned one year earlier. But excluding unusual gains and charges, Novell would have earned just $10m in its most recent quarter, leaving it flat versus last year.

The most significant unusual item was the Microsoft settlement, which dates back to November last year. The other items include a $6m restructuring charge, a $1m investment charge and a $2m property sale gain.

Novell's Linux business remains small. Its SuSE unit brought in $15m in revenue during the first quarter. That total includes $7m worth of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server sales. ®

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