Rohan Dalvi offers some perspective into how OSL shaders can help solve some issues.
Houdini trainer Rohan Dalvi demonstrates how to use attributes and OSL in Octane within Side FX Houdini although Octane supports OSL shaders, Houdini supporting it altogether. The latest version of Octane for Houdini sees new support for the open shading language. Octane does support attributes, but it is only for meshes. It doesn’t support attributes for particle or hair or other elements.
Rohan mentions that OSL shaders are relatively close to VEX, noting the types of things that you can do with OSL are similar to what can happen with VEX. The video runs through all the ins-and-outs for working with OSL with Octane in Side Effects Houdini. Be sure to download the OSL files used here.