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For Slepian-Wolf source networks, the error exponents obtained by Körner,Marton, and the author are shown to be universally attainable by linear codes also. Improved exponents are derived for linear codes with "large rates." Specializing the results to simple discrete memoryless sources reveals their relationship to the random coding and expurgated bounds for channels with additive noise. One corollary is that there are universal linear codes for this class of channels which attain the random coding error exponent for each channel in the class. The combinatorial approach of Csiszár-Körner-Marton is used. In particular, all results are derived from a lemma specifying good encoders in terms of purely combinatorial properties.