Here's what i did to get started using the AVR Dragon to program ATMEGA8 microcontrollers using ubuntu (This is aimed at beginners, I myself am also being a beginner, so any improvements from more experienced users are greatly appreciated).
After finally switching my laptop and computer over to ubuntu permanently, i found no software that would support my PIC microcontroller programmer and after a few vauge and useless attempts to reverse engineer it (i'm really not that good at electronics, i wake up in the night wondering why i'm not doing a degree to become a tree surgeon), i finally thought "sod it" and splashed out a bit of my student loan on an AVR Dragon after seeing there was an open source c compiler for AVR microcontrollers and supporting programming software, also there's some absolutely wicked projects people have done with them.
It then promptly got discarded in my box of bits for a couple of months (i like to think it was laying dormant in its lair......its a dragon, get the pun?)
so anyways, here's how i got it working, this will probably work with most flavours of ubuntu that use synaptic (you can probably do it on any version of linux if you compile it from source and whatnot, i like synaptic because its easy) and its more a collection of information from various sources, but should hopefully get you up and running!
I realise there are other instructables for getting started with avr microcontrollers, but i couldn't find anything that applied to my situation, so i hope this is at least a bit of help to somebody.
Step 1: getting the software
in this instructable i wont be using any IDE (integrated development environment, think netbeans or visual basic) or make files (i don't understand them, maybe one day i will), so its mainly gonna be done via the command line and the text editor of your choice.
there are 2 main pieces of software i'll be using
this is the gnu c cross compiler for avr microcntrollers. A cross compiler is needed because we're compiling code for a microcontroller on an architecture (personal computer) that cannot run the compiled code.
This will take the code you write in c and convert it into a "machine readable" format (loads of 1's and 0's) which can then be put onto a microcontroller.
This is what puts the code onto the microcontroller, it connects with the avr dragon and transfers the Hex file (the compiled code) onto the microcontroller.
to install these pieces of software go:
system -> administration -> Synaptic Package Manager
search for gcc-avr and then avrdude and mark them both for installation, then install! simple.
if you want to use the command line you could try
sudo apt-get install gcc-avr
sudo apt-get install avrdude