Pengutronix 2023: A Year in Review - Part III

In the third and final part of our retrospective series, we look at our sister company Linux Automation GmbH, which, in addition to moving into new premises, has used the year to bring the long-awaited LXA TAC (Test Automation Controller) closer to market maturity despite all adversities. The colleagues provide a brief review and insight into this, as well as into current further developments of existing products.

Last but not least, our podcast series "Kernel-Panic: Board on Fire" that began last year has turned out to be a complete success, which we would like to briefly overview again at the conclusion of the retrospective.

Hardware Developments

Linux Automation GmbH, Pengutronix's hardware subsidiary, was also not idle in 2023. There is new hardware in our shop and products that we can look forward to in 2024.

CandleLight FD

For several years now, we have been manufacturing and selling CandleLight open hardware USB-CAN adapters in our shop. Except for a few tweaks, this is the design of HubertD auf GitHub. Thanks again for that!

Since this year, we have also made our first real own contribution to the USB-CAN adapter world: the candleLight FD!

The candleLight FD is a modernized version of the candleLight, with CAN FD and USB-C connection. Like the candleLight, the candleLight FD is also open hardware.


A project that we keep teasing at trade fairs and on the Internet is the LXA TAC, a Linux computer as a development tool for other Linux computers. The much-feared EMC test and the even more feared part shortage have massively delayed our planned launch, but both hurdles have now been overcome and the first TACs have already gone to external testers.

Soon, the first TACs should also go on sale in our shop.

This year, we also published the Yocto project with which LXA TAC images and bundles can be generated. So if you want to contribute before the sale day, you can do so in the meta-lxatac project.

USB-SD-Mux Fast

If you have been closely following the release notes of the USB-SD-Mux control software, you will have seen it: we are working on a new generation of the USB-SD-Mux, the USB-SD-Mux Fast.

The USB-SD-Mux Fast contains a new switch for the data lines of the SD card, thus allowing faster cards to be used in some devices.

USB-C has also been introduced here, and there are two new digital outputs that can be used to control, for example, the boot mode and reset of a device under test.

We are still doing extensive internal testing of the USB-SD-Mux Fast, but it should be available in our shop in the not-too-distant future.

Podcast: Kerne Panic - Board on Fire

In the second (and first 'actual') year of our podcast Kernel Panic - Board on Fire, Leonard gathered around the imaginary campfire with a total of six colleagues in succession, letting them share more stories about Linux and tricky bug-hunting tales.

Note that the Podcast is available in German language only.

  • Episode #003: Ein Rennen um Nanosekunden with Michael Grzeschik

    About the tricky troubleshooting with tracing, disassembler, and the like to get to the bottom of a sporadically failing USB controller.

  • Episode #004: OP-TEE und TrustZone - Geheimnisträger in der CPU with Rouven Czerwinski

    About OP-TEE and ARM TrustZone, how both are connected and, for example, can be used for storing cryptographic keys.

  • Episode #005: Time Sensitive Networking - Was wann wo wieso? with Johannes Zink

    About the basics of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) and the Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and the diverse possible applications.

  • Episode #006: Der Browser im Fahrkartenautomaten with Bastian Krause

    About the use of web technologies for GUIs on embedded devices, different browser engines and ways to test web applications.

  • Episode #007: GPU und nu? Der Weg zum offenen Grafiktreiber with Lucas Stach

    About the background and origins of open source GPU drivers such as Etnaviv and Nouveau in the Linux kernel and their basic functionality.

  • Episode #008: Aus dem Takt - Das Doppelpack Clock-Glitches mit Ahmad Fatoum

    About the generation and distribution of clocks in SoCs and what can go wrong.

Thank You!

At the end of this series, we would like to thank all customers, developers, maintainers, bug reporters, interested parties, hackers, and penguins for the valuable technical and human exchange in 2023 and look forward to an exciting year with you in 2024!