PDAL is a BSD licensed library for translating and manipulating point cloud data of various formats. It is a library that is analogous to the GDAL raster library. PDAL is focussed on reading, writing, and translating point cloud data from the ever-growing constellation of data formats. While PDAL is not explicitly limited to working with LiDAR data formats, its wides format coverage is in that domain.
PDAL is related to Point Cloud Library (PCL) in the sense that both work with point data, but PDAL’s niche is data translation and processing pipelines, and PCL’s is more in the algorithmic exploition domain. There is cross over of both niches, however, and PDAL provides a user the ability to exploit data using PCL’s techniques. See filters.pclblock for more background