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Novell apologizes for false free software funding claim

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Novell Inc's head of marketing for Linux and open source has apologized to the Free Software Foundation and the open source community after making misleading statements about the company's financial contribution to the FSF.

Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and open platform solutions at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell, made the apology after it was pointed out that his claim that Novell is "a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation" was incorrect.

Steinman made the claim in an online interview last week but was quickly forced to retract the statement after the FSF's executive director Peter Brown disputed it via a statement to the Groklaw web site.

"Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program. Since their deal with Microsoft was announced we have not asked them to renew as a patron, nor would we. Novell is not 'a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation'," Brown stated.

In his apology Steinman stated that he believed his original statement to be true at the time he made it, but nevertheless apologized for misrepresenting the facts.

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