Imagine the following situation: I want to have a tiny, light server that is able to run some services like basic Web, ftp, printing servers and pluging hard drives via usb.
I would like to use it as a tool for learning about embedded devices and programming for those architectures. I have the intention to test a home-security system with a webcam also...
What would be a good architecture, specific device, brand or any recommendation for a beginner? I have experience with both linux and C programming.
EDIT: Limited budget proposals preferred! ;)