Updated Amazon.co.uk has refused to pull reviews of Red Hat Linux 7.0 Deluxe edition by Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds off its site because they are not offensive.
Surprisingly, Bill Gates gave the software five out of five and was so impressed that he vowed not to use Windows again. Linus Torvalds, bizarrely, thinks very little of Red Hat's latest version and suggests people actually migrate to Windows. Incredible.
Of course, the reviews were written by jokers (and are pretty funny, see below) but when this was pointed out to Amazon.co.uk with the suggestion that they may wish to remove them, the company claimed it would be "unfair to remove all reviews that were against the products" and "we cannot remove reviews from our website unless they are offensive".
May we suggest that Amazon has missed the point somewhat? And aside from making itself look pretty amateurish, is there not a more serious point here that even when Amazon is made aware of abuse of its review system it refuses to do anything about it. When you're talking about well-known brands and products, it would suggest a failing on Amazon's part as a retailer. Maybe in its bid to make a profit it has laid off the staff that were capable of looking after its site.
Anyway, this then is what Bill and Linus had to say about the OS. ®
Reviewer: William Gates from Redmont USA
It's amazing, a load of smelly hackers sitting around in their basements have wrote a stunning piece of software, and it wasn't us. You wouldn't catch me actually running Windows, hell no-one at work does, you should have seen the fight for the OSX CD when it got delivered! Linux is a good investment for anyone who wants an OS with 'teeth'.
Reviewer: Linus Torvalds from Finland
Despite fifteen years using Linux (most of those with Red Hat) I would recommend people to actually go out and use Windows. You see the actual Linux OS is not too good, the kernel (core functions) is really bad and the GUI elements feel like they've been stuck on with glue. Red Hat is really the worst of the distros and after ten minutes of using it, you'll be reaching for the Windows CD!
Unsurprisingly, Amazon has got to hear about its famous reviewers and has removed them from its site. It has also decided it best if no-one at all can review the product. From everything to nothing in one fell swoop.
Surprisingly, Cnet has gone to the trouble of writing a story about their removal. It even elicted a response from an Amazonian woman: "When we have a very high confidence that reviews are not written by people assigned to them, we will take them down," said Patty Smith, who was obviously making it up as she went along.
The story didn't bother to mention us though, which was a little surprising. It's here if you want to read it.