RetroShare, a software that offers encrypted network communications

about retroshare

In the next article we are going to take a look at RetroShare. This program establishes encrypted connections between the user and his friends to create a network of computers, and also provides several distributed services: forums, channels, chat, mail … It is a free and open source program, which is completely decentralized and designed to provide maximum security and anonymity to its users. It is available for Gnu / Linux, Android, MacOS, and Windows. The source code RetroShare is written in C ++ using the Qt Toolkit, and is licensed AGPLv3.

RetroShare is a software that provides encrypted P2P network communications, a non-centralized email system, instant messaging, a BBS and a friend-to-friend network-based file sharing system, making use of the encryption tool for all of this GPG.

How does RetroShare work?

RetroShare will allow us to create a network of computers (called nodes). Each user has his own node. The exact location (the IP address) of the nodes is only known by neighboring nodes. We can invite a person to become a neighbor by exchanging RetroShare certificates with that person.

retroshare network

Links between nodes are authenticated using strong asymmetric keys (PGP format) and are encrypted using Perfect Forward Secrecy. In addition to the network mesh, this program provides services to exchange data securely and anonymously with other nodes on the network, beyond our own friends.

RetroShare is provided free of charge and is the result of hard work driven solely by the goal of providing a tool to evade censorship. The only downside is that you will need to create your own network. To use RetroShare, we must recruit friends and exchange certificates with them, or join an existing network of friends.

General features of RetroShare

retroshare preferences

With this program we can use:

  • Chat to send text and images. We will be able to discuss with several people in decentralized chat rooms (like IRC). In them we can use a set of emoticons.
  • It will give us the possibility of share files with our friends or with the whole network. RetroShare uses a BitTorrent-like swarm to speed up transfers. Privacy and anonymity are guaranteed, beyond direct friends with anonymous tunnels.
  • Forums that will allow us to read and write posts offline. This is perfect while traveling. When we have an internet connection available, RetroShare will automatically sync the forums with our friends. Decentralized forums are censorship-resistant by design.
  • Dashboards in which to share our favorite images or links. We will be able to vote and discuss them using the built-in comment system.

email with retroshare

  • Mail to send encrypted messages to other members of the network.
  • Protect our IP with Tor / I2P. RetroShare can optionally be used on Tor and I2P networks. By doing so, even friendly nodes will not be able to see our IP, allowing you to connect safely and anonymously with unknown people.
  • Voice and video (experimental prototype) that will allow us to make free and secure calls with the VoIP add-on.

These are just some of the features. They can consult all of them in the project website.

Install RetroShare

retroshare profile

As AppImage

To download this file, we can go to the download page with the Web navigator and download the AppImage file from there, or we can also open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run wget as follows to download the latest version published today:

download appimage


After downloading, we will have to give permissions to the downloaded file:

sudo chmod +x retroshare-gui-latest-x86_64.AppImage

Come this far, we can launch the program by double clicking on the file or by typing in the same terminal:

running appimage


Like Flatpak

Another option to install this program with which we can establish encrypted connections between us and our friends, will be through its corresponding package flatpak. If you use Ubuntu 20.04 and you still do not have this technology enabled, you can follow the guide that a colleague wrote in this same blog a while ago to enable it.

When we have the possibility of installing flatpak packages, we can open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run the following command to start the installation:

install as flatpak

flatpak install flathub cc.retroshare.retroshare-gui

For launch the program, it is only necessary to write in the same terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

flatpak run cc.retroshare.retroshare-gui

From repository

We can also get RetroShare for Ubuntu through the OBS repository. For add repository we need to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and in it write the commands:

add retroshare repository

source /etc/os-release

wget -qO -${VERSION_ID}/Release.key | sudo apt-key add -

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb${VERSION_ID}/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/retroshare_OBS.list"

When we have the repository added, We will start by updating the list of available software and then we will install the program:

install retroshare with apt

sudo apt update

sudo apt install retroshare-gui

After installation, we can only find the program launcher on our computer.

retroshare launcher

To know more about this project, users can consult your Web page wave official documentation.

Add Comment