Today, Ubuntu 23.10 is available to download — or rather it was.
If you’re only just waking up/getting around to downloading Ubuntu 23.10 you’ll have noticed that you can’t actually download the main Ubuntu 23.10 desktop ISO from the Ubuntu website, despite the fact it has been released, and blogs like mine are telling you it’s out.
There is a reason for it — and no, it’s not because we all got the release date wrong!
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Ubuntu explains the situation:
We have identified hate speech from a malicious contributor in some of our translations submitted as part of a third party tool outside of the Ubuntu Archive. The Ubuntu 23.10 image has been taken down and a new version will be available once the correct translations have been restored.
A nefarious ne’er do well somehow slipped a slew of unsavoury sentences into the new Ubuntu release, completely under the radar, and they were shipped on the default ISO — so it’s been pulled from download.
The offensive translations appear(ed) in the new Ubuntu installer at specific points in the process, and only when run in a specific language. The tasteless translations have since been scrubbed from existence, sane translations added, and an updated ISO readied for release.
As well as the main Ubuntu 23.10 desktop ISO the ISOs for Ubuntu Budgie 23.10 and Ubuntu daily builds (those are, AFAIK, the only ones that use the new installer, with other flavours using Ubiquity or Calameres) have also been removed, and new versions prepared.
I’m not 100% certain but having taken a look at the Ubuntu Desktop Installer repo on GitHub — I know, I’m nosey — it appears to be (sadly, but perhaps predictably) the Ukrainian translation file that was hijacked. I ran its contents through a translator and …Wish I hadn’t.
About 75% of the file is normal but the rest is a barrage of unsubtle, offensive sentences relating to politics, sexuality, and current events. The text is crude, provocative, and highly inflammatory – we’re not talking nuanced, fringe political opinions here.
Anyway, figured I’d pass this news along just incase you’re wondering where the ISO is. Hopefully it won’t be too long before a sanitised edition is up on the release servers, ready for all to download.
The “affected” ISO can still be downloaded from some of the official Ubuntu mirrors (though not for long), as well as from unofficial sources, third-party sites, and possibly via torrents too.
As this incident only concerns the new installer most Ubuntu flavours remain available to download from the official Ubuntu website and release server, as does the legacy Ubuntu desktop image. Ubuntu upgrades are not affected.