If you're using Debian or Ubuntu especially, please use the Tor Project's repository, so you can easily receive updates.
In addition, using the package provides other conveniences:
ulimit -n gets set to a high number, so Tor can keep open all the connections it needs.
- The package creates and uses a separate user, so you don't need to run Tor as your own user.
- The package includes an init script so Tor runs at boot.
- Tor can bind to low-numbered ports, then drop privileges.