Skip to main content...

PSA: WPSD Is Not An 'Overlay'

I see these labels/statements regarding WPSD quite a bit:

“WPSD is a Pi-Star overlay”

“WPSD overlays Pi-Star”

“WPSD […] overlay […]”

Let me correct all of these fallacies for the record…

WPSD is not an “overlay”, and it never has been.

WPSD is, and always has been, it’s own software. Yes, there was a point in time where you could install WPSD within an existing Pi-Star installation (which is now deprecated & unsupported), but it didn’t ‘overlay’ anything; it replaced core software, removed Pi-Star software, and installed/ran WPSD.

More importantly, WPSD is its own software and operating system distribution.

I suppose the term “overlay” was used because of the legacy install script/method that allowed users to replace Pi-Star software on an existing instance with WPSD. 🤷‍♂️

I’ve also seen YouTubers use the “overlay” label in their WPSD-related videos. No offense to these creators. I am grateful you enjoy WPSD and that you published your content; but we need to clear the air…

It’s important to clear this up because the “overlay” label has confused lots of WPSD users and aspiring users.

Here’s a quote from a recent message in an unrelated Discord server:

“[…] but it (WPSD) sounded like it was just an overlay on top of pistar”

That’s just one instance. I’ve seen “overlay” used all over the place, and it’s unfortunately quite rampant!

How To Correct The ‘Overlay’ Fallacy/Label…

Repeat after me: “WPSD is not an overlay”.

Please stop calling WPSD an “overlay”, and stop using WPSD and “overlay” in the same sentence. 🤦‍♂️

How to Uninstall the Legacy WPSD ('buster') Version

Since we’ve sunsetted/deprecated the legacy, “buster”-based WPSD installations, a couple of users have asked, “how can I uninstall WPSD and restore the original Pi-Star? I don’t want to install new WPSD disk images”.

Ugh. Really? 🤦

Anyway, simply run the following command in SSH:

curl -Ls | sudo NO_SELF_UPDATE=1 bash -s -- -rd

Note: This process is for the older, legacy WPSD installations for users who installed over existing Pi-Star instances. It will not work on newer installations which used the disk images.

WPSD Now Part of the M17 Project

Sometimes, a match is truly made in heaven. And after some deliberating, I’ve agreed to place my WPSD project under the M17 Project umbrella.

There is, and always has been, very strong synergy and shared goals between the M17, OpenRTX and WPSD ecosystems. One of those cardinal goals, is paving the way for future ham radio – free from patent encumberances and manufacturer influence.

This “marriage” of projects so-to-speak, makes strategic sense in many ways. Most importantly, being our commitments to 100% free and open source initiatives in order to place amazing amateur radio technology and “vehicles” into amateur radio operators’ hands.

Additionally, both projects have grown exponentially over the past couple of years. With this kind of growth, comes more requirements, challenges and visions. It was important to me that WPSD remain impactful and sustainable. Through this project partnership, these goals will remain attainable, and help spread truly open digital voice mode operation across the globe for years to come.

Thirdly, both projects have large and vibrant user, development and support communities. Combining these forces will make it even easier and simpler to bring these truly freedom-centric technologies to countless ham shacks across the globe.

The combination of these two open source digital voice technologies will enable more innovation, more choice and a better user experience. I hope that you are as excited as I and the M17 team are!

WPSD Installs Only via Disk Images

TL;DR: WPSD can be installed only via the installation disk images.

When I first released WPSD to the masses, it was originally installed on existing Pi-Star installations via an installation script; by removing Pi-Star and installing WPSD.

As WPSD grew, changed, improved, etc., I began offering updated installation disk images; and as of today, August 26, 2023, installation disk images are now the only method to installing WPSD. This means, that the installation script and method of replacing existing Pi-Star instances with WPSD vis the script is no longer available nor is it supported…

Additionally, we will be fully ceasing support of the older Pi-Star/“Buster”-based WPSD installations by the beginning of year 2024. Users who still run this older method of installation will no longer receive updates after 2024, and will need to upgrade their installation by installing the supported WPSD disk images. These older installations will eventually see a friendly message on their dashboards instructing them to upgrade to the disk image installation method.

Why This is Happening

Most importantly, the older method of installation on existing systems use very dated operating system, “Buster”. This operating system is end-of-life and is no longer supported.

Additionally, WPSD has evolved greatly, and we work closely with the developer(s) of the critical back-end software that performs the heavy lifting behind-the-scenes; and this software has also evolved greatly. Because of this evolution, there are simply too many incompatibilities with the much-newer WPSD code and programs running on older Pi-Star-based WPSD installations.

Being that our focus on development is based on the newer operating systems and newer underlying code, we’ve determined that installation disk images are more reliable to the users of WPSD and provides a better user experience.

A Note to Users Who Want to Uninstall Legacy WPSD
See this document

Beware of Unofficial/Unsanctioned WPSD Software & Disk Images

Public Service Announcement

As of June 8, 2023, WPSD is offered in three disk image “flavors”/platforms: Raspberry Pi, OrangePi Zero, and NanoPi NEO. As we acquire alternative platforms to develop and test against, we release official images for them.

The Main Issue

Recently some unofficial/unsanctioned (“forked”) disk images and code repositories of WPSD started appearing in the wild, specifically for the BananaPi platform, and possibly other platforms.

Additionally, there are some creators / vendors of hotpots, shipping their BananaPi and other hotspots with these unsanctioned disk images/software, which is actually not good for the user; and we also do not support the software on these hotspots.

Hints: if you ever see my code on GitHub, it’s not mine - I don’t host the official code there and I never have; and we also don’t have BananaPi official disk images released. Also, if you downloaded a disk image from a domain other than, or, it’s not an official WPSD disk image.

IMPORTANT: These are not official WPSD project images / software, and we do not support them (more on this later).

Why This Sucks for Users

There are quite a few issues with these disk images and non-official software I will lay out for you:

  1. The unofficial disk images are HUGE. As in the order of 7+GB. This is indicative of a poorly-created / manually-created disk image, and a poor disk image-creation process.

  2. The base operating system used in some of these unofficial disk images are based on the 2017 Debian upstream version 9.x (code-name: “Stretch”), and has been end-of-life since 2020. That means no security or other updates have been available since July of 2020. WPSD has deliberately never supported Stretch. Read: It’s incredibly old, it’s unsupported and severely outdated.

  3. The unofficial disk images and vendor hotspots with the unofficial software are using severely outdated WPSD code. WPSD is a rolling release/continuous delivery software; which means updates are frequent and rapid. As of this writing, the unofficial disk images are using code from approximately 8 months ago (this is considered “old code”). So old, that…

  4. Because of #3, users of unsanctioned disk image/software are unable to keep up-to-date due to the code and infrastructure changes we made about 6 months ago.

Concerns of (Un-)Fairness and Lack of Collaboration

While I and my small team of developers and contributors are rabid Open Source advocates (which is why all my code is open), and we encourage improvement, innovation etc.; there are some back-end things that exist and work behind the scenes of WPSD in order to keep it up-to-date and maintain a properly-working system. And these processes and infrastructure components are not open, for reliability and security reasons.

Example, when you run a manual update or your hotspot updates nightly automatically, how and where does this happen? It happens from my servers; which contain lots of back-end code, host and ID file generation tasks, etc. Guess who pays for this? I do and my sponsor(s) do.

So what this means, is that all of these unofficial WPSD images and software installations are pointing to the same infrastructure that my/our official software uses. That’s a lot of traffic I never agreed to, and worse, the creators of these unsanctioned disk images never consulted me regarding this traffic, etc. Kinda shitty. All of this extra unauthorized traffic isn’t fair to the users of the official WPSD software and disk images.

Update - 10/23: I see the maintainers for some of these unofficial versions are now pointing to some of their own server resources, fortunately. Regardless, all other traffic from these unofficial forks is, and has been blocked.

Hotspot Vendors Take Note

While I’m very flattered that hostpot vendors want to ship my awesome software with their products, it’s not a simple as just using the code or disk images from my website. It’s best to work with me directly, so that we can help get your product(s) working perfectly for your hotspots and users with my software.

Otherwise your users won’t have the “Real Deal” WPSD software and they won’t be able to update, nor will they ever be able to receive support. Working with me and my project team ensures a better and more supported user experience.

If you insist on creating unsanctioned versions of the software for your hotspots, create your own back-end infrastructure to update them - don’t use mine.

Please support your own software and remove references of “W0CHP/WPSD” from the code. I don’t want my name/call sign associated with old and insecure software.

See next section…

The Future of Hostpots with WPSD

Without mentioning names (yet); some prominent hotspot vendors and creators have been working with me on custom versions and disk images for their products. This is the way to do it, and I applaud the vendors for working with me…it’s best for the users.

You will begin to see these official WPSD disk images for these hotspot products soon, and these hotpots will contain/ ship with official WPSD software.

When released, we will make an official announcement in the various and official mediums.

Update: 11/20/2023

WPSD is now the official software for DVMEGA’s EuroNode Hotspots, and they are shipping their EuroNodes hotspots with WPSD pre-installed. We also have a custom EuroNode disk image available.

Update: 8/25/2023

WPSD is now the official software for BridgeCom’s SkyBridge MAX Hotspots, and they are shipping their new SkyBridge MAX hotspots with WPSD pre-installed. We also have a custom SkyBridge disk image available for previous models of SkyBridge Plus Hotspots (this image is designed for/works with both the MAX and Plus models).

Update: 6/11/2023

WPSD is now the official software for ZUMradio’s ZUMspots, and they will be shipping with WPSD pre-installed very soon. We also have custom ZUMspot disk images available.

Customers of These Hotspots Using Unofficial WPSD Software

I will not apologize on behalf of the vendors providing you with outdated and unsupported software - they should have known better and worked with me and my team like other vendors do/did. If you are affected from this unsupported and outdated software, speak with them, and lobby them to work directly with the WPSD team and me.

And unfortunately, the maintainers of these unofficial WPSD forks didn’t think about the adverse user support ramifications and confusion they have created; that we cannot possibly, and will not support these installations/users. We can only support the software which we write and maintain.

Thanks for reading and 73, W0CHP.