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It’s no secret that many people in the Linux community dislike Novell’s recent Microsoft partnership. To some analysts, though, the deal is a feather in Novell’s market cap.

Open-source activist Bruce Perens started an online petition to protest the deal. A group of people launched a Web site with a self-explanatory name, Boycott Novell. And, leading Samba developer Jeremy Allison left Novell because of the patent part of the Novell-Microsoft deal.

Could Novell be planning to buy XenSource or Altiris? Click here to read more.

At least one independent institutional investment bank, First Albany, likes the deal, however. It likes it a lot.

On Jan. 17, First Albany’s managing director of equity research, Mark Murphy, wrote a research note to the bank’s customers stating that First Albany was “upgrading our rating on the shares of NOVL [Novell] to Buy from Neutral.” By the firm’s rating system a Buy recommendation means that it expects the stock to have a potential return of 10 to 20 percent.

Specifically, the investment bank believes that Novell will reach a price of $9 per share. For the last six months, the stock has been hovering around $6.30 per share.

Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Analyst Likes the Novell-Microsoft Deal

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