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Minimal rpm2cpio using only bash, grep, tail and a decompressor
#!/bin/bash
RPMHDRLGTH=$(LANG=C grep -abom1 '.7zXZ\|]'$'\000\000''....'$'\377\377\377\377\377\377''\|BZh9\|'$'\037\213\b' "$1")
case "$RPMHDRLGTH" in
*7zXZ) COMPRESSOR=xz ;;
*]*) COMPRESSOR=lzma ;;
*BZh9) COMPRESSOR=bzip2 ;;
*) COMPRESSOR=gzip ;;
esac
tail -c+$[${RPMHDRLGTH%:*}+1] "$1" | $COMPRESSOR -d
@ruario
Owner

Just some notes. This assumes GNU tools. Additionally it will not work with rpm5.org rpm's that use xar instead of cpio internally.

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