The last few routers I've bought for family and friends have been TP-Link, and of course I immediately flash them all with OpenWRT. The last two routers I bought had firmware from October that was locked down, just like TFA makes note of. I wasn't pleased with the google effort and time required to get to where I wanted to go.
As I recall, first I had to find a sort of neutral flashing dd-wrt firmware from early last year, that was possible to be flashed by TP-Link's firmware. Then, since TP-Link's October's firmware was useless, I had to flash the router with a much older version of their firmware, making the unit an April TP-Link router. Once I got that far, I was able to flash to OpenWRT as planned.
I'm happy with the units price and performance under OpenWRT, however I will look to other vendors from now on. Of course I must also blame the FCC, which sort of hurts because lately the FCC has been making a lot of good calls for its actual constituents, (while ignoring its paid-for lobbyists).
The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White