Question is due curiosity mostly… — it's kinda strange and awkward limitation considering tar's inability to list content w/o reading the whole (sometimes huge) file.
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Any reason for
Yes: Because in the designer's eyes this would be useless. If you have a tar file you either want to extract its contents (
As Bryan pointed out, if you want to see what's being extracted you can pass the
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tar has 5 "modes" (-c,-r,-t,-u,-x) which cannot be combined. All other arguments are just options to the desired mode.