Focusing on the principles and the paradigm of OBS an overview addressing expectable performance and application issues is presented. Proposals on OBS were published over a decade and the presented techniques spread into many directions. The paper comprises discussions of several challenges that OBS meets, in order to compile the big picture. The OBS principle is presented unrestricted to individual proposals and trends. Merits are openly discussed, considering basic teletraffic theory and common traffic characterisation. A more generic OBS paradigm than usual is impartially discussed and found capable to overcome shortcomings of recent proposals. In conclusion, an OBS that offers different connection types may support most client demands within a sole optical network layer.