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[SLUG] Help, please, with shell scripting for computing checksums


First of all, I've been following slug for a bit as a Kernel Cousin under
SLUG Pearls, but I've never posted, so I hope this is not an inappropriate
or off-topic question.

I'm trying to use md5sum (from Gnu Text Utilities) to compute a checksum
for alot of files in my home directory or root directory. This wouldn't be
a problem, except that I want it to compute the checksums on all files in
ALL subdirectories (so that I can compare original with backup copy).

Maybe I'm being immensely stupid, but I don't see an easy way to
accomplish this with md5sum itself (it responds to directories "md5sum:
bin: Is a directory"), and I'm evidently not adept enough with shell
scripting to make this work.  I actually looked through the source code to
think maybe I could modify md5sum itself (in case anyone else wanted to do
similar checksums), but I quickly got in over my head; the numerical
simulations I do seem _awfully_ different than coding for applications or
this type of file access :).

Any suggestions (or script fragments) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,