According to the Net::SFTP documentation
$local is optional. If not provided, the contents of the remote file $remote will be either discarded, if get is called in void context
, or returned from get if called in a non-void context. Presumably, in the former case, you will use the callback function \&callback to "do something" with the contents of $remote.
Your first example calls it in void context without providing a $local, thus nothing useful happens.
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