ARM Cortex-M3 EABI toolchain
For low-cost, low-power systems, sometimes with microsecond (µs) real-time latency requirements, the ARM Cortex M3 is often a good fit. It runs 'bare metal' firmware or small RTOS-based systems software perfectly fine, thanks to the hardware support for context switching.
With a good RTOS, 3.5 µs thread context switch latency is possible.
Obtaining a GCC cross toolchain could be a challenge in 2010. Here is my script that builds a cross toolchain for ARM Cortex-M3 EABI ARM targets for your Apple OS X or Linux development system, using GCC 4.5.0 and GDB 7.1.
Today you are probably better of downloading one from ARM by Linaro or Arduino, depending on your purpose.
If you have any questions, please contact me.