Basically what I'm looking for are compact (but I'm willing to sacrifice compactness in lieu of price) embedded boards that have just enough power and memory to run a linux kernel and a couple tiny applications, and can be network connected, either wired or wireless. I also require variants for battery operation as well as AC powered.
I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for, and I don't care much about the architecture as long as it can run linux. I've looked at embeddedarm.com but I think all the boards they have to offer are over-powered and too expensive for my application. It's kind of silly in my opinion, when you can get something like a linksys wrt for 50 dollars.
What I'm planning on doing is cobbling together sort of a DIY home security system, so it will need to do things like monitor door/window sensors, and control an inexpensive USB webcam that can report and upload snapshots off-site based on image thresholds.
I'm aware of the implicit problems and reliability with DIY home security solutions--this is mostly for a project for myself as a hobby.