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nc establishes a bi-directional connection. I.e. it sends stdin from host B to host A as well as the desired one from A to B. Use -d on host B to ignore stdin. -N on host A is still needed to close the TCP connection on EOF. In summary Host A: tar cf - stuff | dd | nc -N -l 12987 Host B: nc -d 12987 | dd | tar tf -

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