Recently a number of boards running embedded Linux have appeared. You can set up a home automation webserver with a webcam and some other functions.
Here you can learn how to program embedded Debian board Fox board G20.
Company has a nice webpage how to get started. Very quickly could get running webcam and Wifi.
To make it ieasier to repeat you can go through the notes in the attached files.
Webcam resolution is 800x600, can connect a motion detector to GPIO pins, set up a webserver, there is a built-in support for 1-wire temperature sensors.
Dissadvantages: no Kernel header sources available. It was for me too hard to compile own Kernel module for example for another WiFi stick. And, secondly, during continuous operation a SD card error appears after some hours. Power-off restart using a wallplug timer every 3 hours helps somehow.
A link to my webserwer where the data are served by Foxboard is here:
It is good for education to learn to control something with Linux. Because of that and also the price of 139EUR, would recommend to use NanosG20 instead of Foxboard. If power saving is not an issue, then would use Ubuntu on a netbook, because every Linux board is somehow tweaked, but on notebook Ubuntu just everything work. For home use most economic power-saving option would be to put webcam & data server in the router, for example using OpeWRT in WRT160NL.
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