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QA Suite Readme

Using the QA Suite to Compare Files

Comparing Hybrid CDs

To compare Hybrid CDs, you must use a Mac with FWB's CD-ROM Toolkit installed, and you must follow these steps:

  1. Open the CD-ROM Toolkit Control Panel and click on the "Options" button.
  2. Check "Any ISO9660 volumes..." under "Allow Mounting of:".
  3. Create checksum databases for the CDs you are comparing by following the instructions below.
  4. Compare the checksum databases for the CDs you are comparing by following the instructions below.


Comparing files is a two-step process. First, QA Suite will create databases containing checksums for all the files you are comparing. Two databases will be created--one for each set of files that you are comparing. The two sets of files are generally refered to within the QA Suite as the "original" and "clone."

Creating a new checksum database

  1. Select the original files in the Finder. This can be a single file, a folder, or a volume. If you are comparing a hybrid CD, select both the Mac and PC partitions.
  2. Drag the original files to the "Generate Checksums" droplet.
  3. You will be asked where you want to save the checksum database. Choose a name which reflects which version of the files it is for.
  4. The database will then be generated. When it is finished, a verbal notice will be given. A separate database will be generated for Mac and PC partitions of hybrid CDs.

Comparing checksum databases

  1. Select the original and clone databases.
  2. Drag them to the "Compare Checksums" droplet.
  3. The checksums for all the files will then be compared. This won't take very long.
  4. When the comparison is finished, a window will open with a report on what differences, if any, were found.
  5. If you want to print this report, first choose "Save" and "Page Setup..." from the "File" menu.
  6. Finally, choose "Print..." from the "File" menu.

Case Sensitivity Preferences

The QA Suite menu within Frontier contains menu items to specify case sensitivity for file and folder names. By default, both settings are off, which matches the behavior of both the Mac file system and ISO 9660. If you turn them on, file names with different cases but otherwise identical will be considered different files--this matches the behavior of Unix.

Known Bugs

Folder Wasn't Found Bug

There is a fairly obscure bug that occurs when generating checksums if an empty folder is encountered on a CD when using FWB's CD-ROM Toolkit. In this case, when the empty folder is reached, the checksum generation will stop and a dialog will appear saying, "The folder (name of the empty folder) wasn't found." The problem here is in Frontier's fileloop--there's nothing I can do about it. Fortunately, this is pretty obscure bug--to my knowledge, it's only appeared on two CDs in three years.

About QA Suite

The QA Suite was originally written in June 1996. It was intended to be a general-purpose suite with various Quality Assurance-related tools, although in practice only the CD comparison part ever appeared. The purpose of the checksum capability is to verify that CDs sent back from manufacturing really match the gold master CDs that were sent out.

I still support the QA Suite. If you have any bug reports, suggestions, or questions, please contact me:

I am curious about what companies use the QA Suite in their quality assurance process--if your company uses it, please let me know. To my knowledge, QA Suite is being used by Davidson & Associates, Blizzard Entertainment, Dataviz, Adobe, and Symantec.

QA suite copyright © 1996 by Kenneth G. Hagler, all rights reserved. Checksum code copyright © 1996 by Norman Basham, all rights reserved. This software is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

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This page was last built on Sun, Jul 25, 1999 using the Sysop Suite (V1.0f1) on a PowerWave running Frontier.