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ENIAC and Cpl. Irwin Goldstein at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering (1946) Originally scheduled for production deployment in January 2009, and then mysteriously not heard from since, the reliable inventory service (AKA agent inventory service, or AIS) has suddenly reappeared like the Baychimo, looming out of the fog not unlike… some badly mangled simile or metaphor or other.

The idea was simple: squelch the primary cause of apparent inventory loss.

Second Life’s inventory transfer protocol (the communications system by which your viewer loads inventory from the Second Life servers after you log in) has a few deficiencies. Chief among these is that – through no fault of yours or of Linden Lab’s – parts of that data-stream can go missing in-transit, leaving your inventory looking incomplete, even though the Second Life servers still know you have your stuff.

The viewer would then cache (or partially cache) the incomplete list – believing it to be complete – and you’d have a persistent problem. Your viewer simply wouldn’t show you items in your inventory that you knew should be there.

So, through 2008, Linden Lab worked on the Agent Inventory Service – which soon became nicknamed “the reliable inventory service” – an upgrade to modern, reliable network protocols which would allow the viewer to load initial inventory completely, correctly, and far faster, making a core piece of Second Life functionality rock-solid and reliable, and reducing one of the most common issues brought to support channels.

Everything was set up for a period of beta-testing, followed by deployment in January 2009 as announced by Frank Ambrose at the time (4 December 2008) … and then…

Nothing.

The project simply vanished from sight, and the Lab has avoided discussion of it since.

Until today, when it appears to be resurfacing on the Magnum RC simulator test channel.

I cannot but wonder quite where this particular project has been all of this time.

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