Sure. In short: sorted item lists let you find specific items or detect
inconsistencies easier on inspection or on comparison with other data.
If I inspect a foreign tar file I typically inspect the contents before
the decision of unpacking them or not. If I obtain a package with sorted
numbered items that are a subset of a larger set I can easily identify
whether a set of entities is in that package or not. It's just the usual
effect that sorted item lists let you identify specific items easier and
faster. The alternative for me with an unsorted archive would be to sort
the output of 'tar tvf' for that purpose. It's easier, though, to sort
it once when populating the archive than to require it be sorted by the
unpacking users many times. It's similar to, say, 'ls'; I don't want to
type 'ls | sort -whatever' every time to get an order where I can easily
spot what I am looking for. It may be just me (or few people) who prefer
data sorted, but since it doesn't cost me anything to provide it sorted
I decided to just do it that way.
BTW, the displayed (and sorted by date) items let me (in the course of
the discussion posts in this thread) recognize that the file's 'mtime'
isn't consistent with the file numbers order. So we can consider the
sorting also as a quality measure of data sets that helps finding bugs
or data inconsistencies easier.
And it's not only convenience for humans, also for computers/programs.
I recall that in the 1990's (when I was closer to programming than I am
now) we had sorted *.a (or *.so, don't recall) library archives. I don't
recall the technical details or the exact rationale, but the reason was
to increase the performance of the build process.
And, finally, for those who don't see an advantage of sorted data, let
me also point you to Donald Knuth's decade old book series "The Art of
Computer Programming" with the third book about "Sorting and Searching".
In the introduction he points to the "most important applications of
sorting"; a) Solving the "togetherness" problem, b) Matching items in
two or more files, and c) Searching for information by key values, that
closely resemble the reasons I had.
> Best regards