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Amazon yanks "Gates," "Torvalds" reviews

Reviews of Linux bearing the names "William Gates" and "Linus Torvalds" were removed from the online company's U.K. site after what appeared to be a humorous case of identity theft.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates praising a version of Linux. Linux creator Linus Torvalds panning it. Have both of them gone mad?

Probably not.

Instead, in what appeared to be a humorous case of identity theft, reviews bearing the tech titans' names were posted on Amazon.com's United Kingdom e-tail site. As of Friday morning PDT, the reviews appeared to have been taken down.

"When we have a very high confidence that reviews are not written by people assigned to them, we will take them down," Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said Thursday.

In the past, the company has taken down a review of the Bible supposedly written by Jesus and a review of "Anna Karenina" by someone going by the name of Leo Tolstoy. Amazon normally will take down fake reviews once customers or the media bring them to the company's attention, Smith said.

In his review of Red Hat Linux 7.0 Deluxe Edition, "William Gates" from "Redmont, USA" called the program a "good investment." "Damn, how did they make it this good?" the reviewer wrote.

Meanwhile, "Linus Torvalds" from Finland advised shoppers to "Go use Windows."

"The actual Linux OS is not too good, the kernel is really bad and the GUI elements feel like they've been stuck on with glue," the reviewer wrote. "Red Hat is really the worst of the (Linux distributions) and after 10 minutes of using it, you'll be reaching for the Windows CD."