What is better: Qt or GTK?

What is better: Qt or GTK?In the world of graphical user interface (GUI) development, the choice of a toolkit plays a pivotal role in shaping the user experience and determining the ease of development. Two prominent contenders in this realm are Qt and GTK, each with its strengths, weaknesses, and dedicated developer communities. Let’s delve into the considerations that may influence your decision when navigating the Qt versus GTK landscape.

Aesthetic Appeal and Integration

Qt is renowned for providing a consistent and polished appearance across different platforms. Its theming capabilities enable developers to create visually appealing applications with a unified look.

GTK, closely associated with the GNOME desktop environment, seamlessly integrates with GNOME applications. If your target environment aligns with GNOME, GTK might offer a more native and cohesive experience.

Language Support

Qt boasts multi-language support, enabling developers to choose between C++, Python, and other languages. This flexibility appeals to a broad audience and facilitates cross-language development.

GTK, primarily based on the C programming language, may be preferable for developers who favor C. While there are bindings for other languages, such as Python, the primary focus remains on C.

Community and Documentation

What is better: Qt or GTK?

Qt benefits from a large and active community, contributing to an extensive pool of resources, tutorials, and documentation. The Qt framework’s maturity is reflected in the wealth of knowledge available to developers.

GTK, being an open-source toolkit, fosters a collaborative community. While not as extensive as Qt’s, GTK’s community is passionate and dedicated, offering support through forums and open-source collaboration.

Platform Portability

Qt takes pride in its cross-platform capabilities, allowing developers to create applications that run seamlessly on Windows, macOS, and various Linux distributions. This feature simplifies the task of targeting multiple platforms.

While GTK is not limited to Linux, it has a stronger association with the Linux ecosystem. Developers looking to primarily target Linux platforms may find GTK’s Linux-centric approach advantageous.

Licensing Models

Qt follows a dual licensing model – commercial and open source. Developers opting for the open-source version must adhere to the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) or the GNU General Public License (GPL).

GTK is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), offering flexibility for developers to link it with both open source and proprietary applications.

Tooling and Development Environment

What is better: Qt or GTK?

Qt offers Qt Creator, an integrated development environment (IDE) tailored for Qt development. This IDE streamlines the development process and enhances the overall developer experience.

GTK development is not tied to a specific IDE, providing developers the flexibility to use a range of editors. This freedom might appeal to developers who have strong preferences for particular coding environments.


Choosing between Qt and GTK involves weighing various factors, including aesthetic preferences, language support, community strength, platform portability, licensing models, and development tooling. Ultimately, the decision depends on your specific project requirements, development team expertise, and the target user environment.

Both Qt and GTK have proven their mettle in powering diverse applications, and the optimal choice rests on aligning the toolkit with your development goals and preferences.