Retroshare - Secure File Sharing

    Have discovered this program when attempting to find a secure method of sharing digital art. The program is called RetroShare and looks promising. Retroshare is all about sharing and communicating with trusted Friends. This is the core design of Retroshare: a decentralised Friend-2-Friend network, which allows you to share stuff... not with the whole world... but with people you know and trust.

What’s so great about RetroShare anyways?

    Retroshare is designed as a "Secure Social Network". It allows you to communicate and share with your friends. Retroshare provides Instant Messaging and Filesharing with decentralized Forums and Channels.
One big feature of Retroshare is privacy: Your stuff is only shared with your trusted friends. No data is stored in the Cloud, and all communications are encrypted. You don't have to trust a Corporation (e.g Facebook or Google) with your information.


    Retroshare creates direct SSL secured connections with friends and family. With people being as paranoid as ever with there data this is quite reassuring that your conversations are private and cannot be eavesdropped on. The decentralized design ensures that there is no central server or single company that has access to all the data.

    Some people like to call Retroshare a "DarkNet". The similarities are a result of the Friend-2-Friend design rather than a deliberate aim. Actually, it is essential for Retroshare to use strong identities to authenticate your friends. They don't hide Retroshare's existence like true darknets, but instead focus on keeping communication private and and only sharing information with your friends.

    Each user generates a unique password protected encryption key. There are two parts to these keys, one that the creator keeps and doesn't share and a public key which they share with their friend. The friend most also create a key and share the public key, only when both users accept each others key will there be proper communication.


    The list of feature is pretty long and is a true testament to the power of Open Source Software, most of the pieces that make Retroshare work are well maintained packages used throughout the tech industry gathered together to make a really nice package. The list below is a small subset 

  • Serverless, completely decentralized
  • Multiple simultaneous downloads / uploads
  • Search Friends
  • Messages
  • Forums
  • Channels
  • Voice over IP
  • Instant messaging
  • Groupchat
  • GnuPG Authentication
  • OpenSSL Encryption
  • adding downloads via website links
  • Plugins support
  • UPnP / NAT-PMP port forwarding support
  • Graphical User Interface written with Qt4 toolkit
  • System tray integration

Other thoughts

   A good barometer of an Open Source Project is the quality of its' documentation, not necessarily it's website but the instructions they provide to get it up and running and their wiki. Retroshare's wiki is pretty good and there is a good set of instructions with pictures for average computer user to follow.

   The source code is openly available and runs on just about every operating system out there, Mac OS X, Windows, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, BeOS. Can get this program installed quickly on various Linux and BSD distros through there respective packaging systems plus there is even a special RasberryPi package

On Ubuntu the package maintainers provide a PPA to get the latest most secure version.
# for RetroShare releases only
   sudo add-apt-repository ppa:csoler-users/retroshare 
# for RetroShare development snapshots
   sudo add-apt-repository ppa:csoler-users/retroshare-snapshots 
# then
   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get install retroshare
If you're using Unity as your desktop interface then there is a tweak to get it to appear in the systray as it disappears after closing the main window.
#Install dconf tools
  sudo apt-get dconf-tools package
Launch dconf-editor, go to Desktop -> Unity -> Panel, and add 'RetroShare', or 'All' to the systray-whitelist variable.

For other distro just search the repository for "Retroshare", it's available in the Arch repos, can be found in freshports for FreeBSD, opensuse has it available on there web site for one-click install packages which also has a fedora install and an xubuntu install, and last but not least there is an ebuild for Gentoo on the eigenlay overlay which can also be applied to the binary spin of Gentoo called Sabayon.


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