Having a complete PC is a good thing, but for controlling small things like a light it’s way too big and expensive, so I’ve decided to use smaller processors for that. After some research I ended up with the AVR micro controllers made by Atmel. They are easily available and affordabel  and what is even more important: An open source toolchain consisting of avr-gcc and avr-libc exists and even the hardware I’ll be using for programming the µCs is open source: USBprog.