In this small tutorial I will show you how to start programming Atmel microcontrollers under GNU/Linux, Debian in particular. It covers all steps starting with the software prerequisites, setting up a minimal circuit to actually flashing the microcontroller with the obligatory “Hello, World!” program. There are a few stumbling blocks that I hit along the way and I will explicitly point them out and show what to do about them. Hopefully this will save you some frustration.
If you like experimenting with electronics sooner or later you’ll want to create an etched PCB with your own circuit. For testing purposes there’s of course the breadboard and simple circuits can be easily built on a stripboard but as soon as the complexity grows designing layouts in some electronics software is the natural way to go.