Gates cutting Windows code a boon for Linux, says Hall

Bill Gates' decision to to go back into software programming and design is 'the best thing that ever happened to Linux', open-source guru Jon 'Maddog' Hall cracked at a conference over the weekend.

Speaking at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, Jon "Maddog" Hall, executive director of the nonprofit vendor group Linux International, gave his reaction to yesterday's news that Bill Gates is stepping down as chief executive officer of Microsoft and taking on the new title of chief software architect.

Hall, a gray-bearded evangelist for the free, open-source operating system that proponents tout as a rival to Windows, welcomed the Microsoft announcement.

"If Gates is going back into programming and design, this is the best thing that ever happened to Linux," he said.

Hall's comment drew laughter and applause during a panel discussion at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo Hong Kong 2000, held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Linux International, in Amherst, New Hampshire, can be contacted at http://www.li.org/.

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