Newer checksum algorithms
The manual page of the GNU sum utility program (that implements the BSD checksum algorithm) states: "sum is provided for compatibility; the cksum program is preferable in new applications."
Description of the algorithm
The main part of this algorithm is simply adding up all bytes in a 32-bit sum. As a result, this algorithm has the characteristics (disadvantages and advantages) of a simple sum:
- re-arranging the same bytes in another order (e.g. moving text from one place to another place) does not change the checksum.
- increasing one byte and decreasing another byte by the same amount does not change the checksum.
- adding or removing zero bytes does not change the checksum.
As a result, many common changes to text data are not detected by this method.
The last two lines of the algorithm reduce the total sum to a 16-bit number.