RALEIGH, N.C. — Don’t expect there to be any partnership announcements between Linux software leader Red Hat and Microsoft.

There can’t be.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed on Tuesday, Novell disclosed details of its partnership with Microsoft. Part of the deal includes a prohibition of Microsoft from working with anyone else on Linux.

Red Hat is the world’s largest Linux distributor.

The proprietary software giant’s startling announcement last week that it would work with Novell on Linux also includes cash payments of more than $400 million to the much smaller Novell. The agreement runs through 2012.

However, the Linux exclusivity portion of the deal is only good for three years.

“Microsoft agreed that for three years it will not enter into an agreement with any other Linux distributor to encourage adoption of non-Novell Linux/Windows Server virtualization through a program substantially similar to the SLES subscription “certificate” distribution program,” Novel said in the filing.

The agreement sent Red Hat (NASDAQ: RHAT) shares down 18 cents to $16.72 in after-hours trading Tuesday night. Red Hat’s stock has been pummeled over the past two weeks after Oracle announced it would undercut some of Red Hat’s service prices and the Novell-Microsoft partnership.

Microsoft and Novell intend to develop “virtualization” applications that will enable servers to support both Microsoft and Novel SUSE Linux operating systems.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay Novell $240 million up front. The deal also calls for Microsoft to spend $34 million over the next five years for a sales force to sell their combined offering. Microsoft also is required to spend $12 million each year on marketing efforts.

The agreement also calls for Microsoft to pay Novell $108 million up front as part of a “patent cooperation” agreement that is designed to avoid litigation. Novell will pay Microsoft $40 million over five years.

Novell and Microsoft refused to discuss financial terms of their partnership when it was announced on Nov. 2.

“This is our skin in the game and reflects our confidence in this opportunity, Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft, told Bloomberg News.

For the complete SEC filing, see: www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/758004/000075800406000109/novl-8k_110706.htm