Jon “Maddog” Hall has announced he is gay, saying he wanted to the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birthday.

Turing is the British mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma machine code – a triumph of computer science and a turning point for the Allies in World War II.

He died an early death for acknowledging that he was gay. In 1952, Turing and Arnold Murray were charged with gross indecency after Turing disclosed their relationship to detectives investigating a break in at Turing's Manchester home. Turing was convicted and given the choice of going to prison or submitting to a form of chemical castration via estrogen hormone injections. He chose the latter. The therapy left him impotent and he developed breasts.

It is widely believed that he committed suicide two years after his arrest by eating a cyanide-laced apple.

Hall, the executive director of Linux International, a non-profit organization which supports and promotes Linux-based operating systems, wrote in an op-ed titled In Honor of Alan Turing: A message from the sponsor published in Linux Magazine that Turing was one of his personal heroes.

He said he decided to publicly come out after he started campaigning for gay marriage.

“My sexuality was not a big part of my life,” he wrote. “But earlier this year I began donating to the marriage equality campaign in New Hampshire. I began staffing the phones in call centers when the New Hampshire Republican-controlled House looked as if they would repeal marriage equality (they have not … yet), and I patiently explained to my next-door neighbor of twenty years (also my representative to the New Hampshire legislature) that I was a homosexual and that marriage equality would not bring the destruction of New Hampshire.”

“It has been in the push for this one issue that I have seen really horrible statements put forth about homosexuals which told me that I just could not keep silent any more.”

Hall, 61, added that he would understand if people un-friended or un-followed him on social networks. However, the overwhelming majority of comments on his post were supportive.