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libLAS is available under the terms of the BSD License. Many parts of LAStools, especially those that are similar to those provided by libLAS, are now LGPL. See http://www.cs.unc.edu/~isenburg/lastools/download/LICENSE.txt for specific details on which utilities and libraries are licensed as free software.
Because libLAS’ focus is on being a software development library to enable LAS processing, and not so much a processing library per se, libLAS did re-implement many of the LAStools command-line utilities to provide utility and test the functionality of the library. libLAS’ port of these utilities will always lag LAStools implementations, however, and if you are looking for the latest and greatest in functionality, you should look there. The port that libLAS contains of the LAStools has been blessed by the Isenburg and Shewchuk as BSD-licensed.
Additionally, the libLAS version of the LAStools utilities are no longer command-line compatible. So while they may have some common heritage, and the two packages copy each other in terms of features and behaviors, they are now quite divergent.
Use libLAS for:
Use LAStools for: