I just realized that specific software driver profile loadouts could be housed on custom and small flash drives that could ship all needed packages (which opkg could later update once installed) for a specific hardware kit ordered from the store. Really, for the above to make sense, I do believe that we'd need to tweak the OS to allow for running packages installed outside of root, such that the 16MB root partition can house only the absolute essential bootstrapping tech, while the external usb hub is required to run the actual application/project software necessary.
I too would love a precompiled version of the serialport npm package delivered via opkg as I dont think npm node-gyp compilation is ever going to work.
This is the way the Arduino Yun supports serial via nodejs (it also uses same chipset and similar openwrt distro).
I noticed opkg has a node-usb package one but it doesnt seem to do anything. Cant find it on the file system, neither as npm global package or under /usr/bin directory, I also cant seem to use it via require('usb').