The company also raised its revenue outlook for the year, and its shares rose 3.2 percent in extended trade.
First-quarter net income was $16.8 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $19.9 million, or 6 cents per share, a year ago.
Non-GAAP income from continuing operations was 8 cents a share, above Wall Street analysts' average estimate of 5 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue rose to $230.9 million from $218.4 million a year ago. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $224.8 million.
Novell said Linux sales rose 65 percent to $28 million in the quarter.
Novell raised its full-year net revenue outlook to between $940 million and $970 million. It had previously expected revenue of $920 million to $945 million, and analysts had been expecting $933.6 million, on average, according to Reuters Estimates.
Novell shares rose to $6.75 in extended trade after closing at $6.54 on Nasdaq, down 3.5 percent in the regular session.