Editors' Note: You will be taken to a third-party site to complete your download. Using P2P and file-sharing software to distribute copyrighted material without authorization is illegal in the United States and many other countries. CBS Interactive does not encourage or condone the illegal duplication or distribution of copyrighted content.
Many of us have used peer-to-peer file-sharing programs that allow us to connect to networks with thousands of other users, sharing music, movies, and more. What if you could take that same concept and shrink it down so that the only people on the network were the ones you invited? Retroshare allows you to do just that. This simple program lets users create private file-sharing networks for the easy transfer of files between friends, family, or co-workers--and no one else.
The program's interface is plain and intuitive, with its major features represented by graphical buttons. Adding other people to the network isn't as easy as some other programs make it--Retroshare users must exchange XPGP certificates and enter them manually--but the process isn't too difficult. Users then simply select the folders that they want to share, and other users can browse through them and download files at their leisure. The program has an array of cool features, including built-in chat, messaging, and forums, all of which are as secure as the file-sharing. We were a little confused by the News Feed button; we thought perhaps that Retroshare had an RSS reader, but there didn't seem to be any way to add new feeds, and this feature wasn't addressed at all in the brief Help file. Other than that, though, we found the program to be easy to use and quite efficient for sharing files with other trusted users.
Retroshare is free. The program installs and uninstalls without issues. We recommend this program to all users.
RetroShare is an open-source cross-platform, private, and secure decentralized communication platform. It lets you securely chat and share files with your friends and family, using a web-of-trust to authenticate peers and OpenSSL to encrypt all communication. RetroShare provides file-sharing, chat, messages, forums and channels.