I watched Dirk Hohndel's talk, and my takeaway was that most of the issues were based on cross-platform use. In Gtk, running on platforms other than Gnome on X (or Wayland in the future) is a somewhat secondary goal, so while it works OK, there are a variety of platform integration issues and it doesn't really look or act very much like a native application. Cross platform application is precisely what Qt is designed for, and is much more of a core goal. As Dirk pointed out, most of Subsurface's users are on Windows and Mac OS X; it only has as high a percentage of Linux users likely due to Linus's involvement in the project.
I tried looking at a few of the issues they had mentioned where they had talked to Gtk developers and been snubbed, but I couldn't find much. One of them was asking about help on doing custom placement and changing the delay of tooltips, as they wanted to use tooltips to display information about what you were hovering over in the graph. They got a few answers about a few customizations you could do, but the response that to do it really well they'd probably have to implement a custom widget rather than using tooltips. What did they do in Qt? They wrote a custom widget for it.
The other major issue they mentioned was not being able to edit a dive right on the view screen, but having to pop up a separate window for editing. I never quite figured out what problem they ran into there. It would be helpful to point out the actual threads where they had trouble and had to give up in Gtk, because I'm curious about how much wasn't possible in Gtk, versus how much was just easier in a rewrite now that they knew about all of the mistakes they'd done in the first UI due to not being experienced UI developers.
Having some familiarity with both Gtk and Qt, though not a ton of experience, I would say that overall I prefer Gtk if I'm going to be writing Linux-native software, and Qt if I want to write something cross-platform.
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