I saw no reference to Auduino on this forum, so here's some info...
Arduino seems to be a group of folks that have taken an IDE from another world and put it on top of GCC. To this they present the IDE user with a really simplified reduced portion of C and a small library of I/O functions. The sum of this seems to be targeted to non-technical users, e.g., artists using MCUs to animate lighting displays. Anyway, it's odd and interesting. The IDE and compiler (GCC) are open source.
They have an interesting low cost PCB with a mega8 on it, with serial or USB. It's sold in Europe or (USB only) at SparkFun Electronics. It uses a bootloader (USB or serial, I presume).
Apologies if this is old news - it seems to have been around for a year - and their forum/blog says there's 500 boards out in use.
I wonder if this class of user wouldn't be better off with something like ZBasic or BasicX hardware+software (AVR based). Not sure if they know about AVRFreaks. I think I saw a reference to UCLA's involvement though. Seems to be mostly in Italy.