Abstract A framework for Orientation and Processing of Airborne Laser Scanning point clouds, OPALS, is presented. It is designed to provide tools for all steps starting from full waveform decomposition, sensor calibration, quality control, and terrain model derivation, to vegetation and building modeling. The design rationales are discussed. The structure of the software framework enables the automatic and simultaneous building of command line executables, Python modules, and C++ classes from a single algorithm-centric repository. It makes extensive use of (industry-) standards as well as cross-platform libraries. The framework provides data handling, logging, and error handling. Random, high-performance run-time access to the originally acquired point cloud is provided by the OPALS data manager, allowing storage of billions of 3D-points and their additional attributes. As an example geo-referencing of laser scanning strips is presented.