You bought yourself a new router, and it's nice. You can connect a hard disc to it and then it shares its content over samba. It even can do torrent. Wow. But then you stumbled over OpenWrt and its 2000 packages you can install just like that. Never mind all the other FOSS software you could compile for it. And you started crying and decided: you neeeed OpenWrt on your router. And if your router is already supported, dandy, flash it on and have fun. But if your router is not (yet) supported? Well, then do this:
commandsto gather hardware information. Please see the manual for that particular bootloader to get this done. Once you have the information you could keep it for yourself or post it online. Depending on how fast you are, there probably is going to be information regarding this already available or you are the first one. This simple step is necessary because the manufacturer usually does not document exactly what hardware has been installed. Now with this information you are going to use google or the search engine of your choice, to see what GNU/Linux drivers are available, and if, in which kernel version they have been integrated into. For example:
Oh, you should also learn a programming language, like C.
Now maybe the drivers for the components have already been integrated into mainline kernel, which means that a newer kernel should work on this device out of the box. If not, you could continue to use the one, from the manufacturer. So combine this kernel with other FOSS software, you want to run on it…
The overall Flash Layout looks like the example. Simply an overview over the different MTD-partition there are. And what their meaning is.
This is more tricky, here you want to know exactly what is written on the flash: flash.layout
The data could be zipped or g'zipped or even be encrypted. Also, there is going to be some number's between the data blocks, like CRC or whatever.
Now you want to run you own Software on your device. Maybe its hardware has already support in some projects or in the mainline kernel. If not, then consider adding a new device or a complete new platform to develop software for. Please do not bother developers or potential developers to write code for this. Present the information you gathered, if it is interesting enough, somebody is going to do that Now to write code, the developer needs only some bread and water and a simple text editor, but to test this code, he's going to need the hardware itself. You could donate or maybe just lend the hardware.