When comparing Colemak vs qwpr, the Slant community recommends Colemak for most people. In the question“What are the best keyboard layouts for programming?” Colemak is ranked 1st while qwpr is ranked 13th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Much more comfortable than QWERTY when touch typing
Pro Highly ergonomic
Pro You can type faster
Because the home row contains more high used frequency characters.
Pro AZXCV don't move compared to QWERTY
If you rely on the Control-A/X/C/V shortcuts (select all, cut, copy, paste), these keys don't move from their QWERTY locations.
Pro Relatively quick to learn
If coming from QWERTY, only a couple of keys move between hands.
Pro Optimized for quick two-letter bigrams
Not only are the most common English letters on home row under your fingers, but many common two-letter combinations are placed next to each other as well allowing for a fluid "inward roll" motion of letter combos (a-r, r-s, s-t, n-e, e-i, and i-o combos). The inward roll motion is debatably speedier than optimizing finger alternation like Dvorak offers.
Pro Backspace is closer
While the uncommonly used caps lock is further away. May be problematic if you previously developed muscle memory of using caps lock as some other key.
Pro Possibly faster
Most people like the common home row and believes it improves speed in comparison to QWERTY.
Pro Multilingual support
Although it‘s optimized for English, the support for a wide range of special characters enables occasional use of other languages. Still, the Carpalx research shows that a significant improvement is also present in Dutch compared to Qwerty. http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?de_correspondent
Pro Good for vim users
Qwpr is pretty close to QWERTY, and even the HJKL keys are in the same left-to-right order (though on different rows). Alternatively, the AltGr plane also has arrow keys in a sensible position under the right hand.
Pro Common shortcuts don't move
A, Z, X, C, and V are in the same positions as QWERTY and Colemak.
Pro As easy as Dvorak
It's 32% easier than QWERTY by the Carpalx metric, which is slightly better than Dvorak's 30%. This is probably within Carpalx's margin of error though.
Pro Alternate plane with CapsLock key
CapsLock is pretty useless for most people, but qwpr layout uses it to shift to another plane with easy access to punctuation and arrow keys. This is especially useful for programmers.
Pro Minimal retraining from QWERTY
11 keys move, but except for P and E, they don't change fingers.
Con Bad for Vim users
Vim was designed on QWERTY. The HJKL "arrow" keys still work in Dvorak, but their positions make less sense in Colemak.
People think Colemak is great because it is easier to learn, but in reality they are deluding themselves thinking that it is better than more advanced alternative layouts.
Con Designed for English
Like Dvorak, this layout privileges English letter frequency, and lacks accented letters.
Since the topic is about programming, the argument is weak as most code is written in English, yet you don't want to learn a layout to type code, and another to type in your native language...
But the problem isn't specific to Colemak, it is tied to all "ergonomic" layouts, and might have no solution.
Con The "HE" bigram is awkward
For all of Colemak's focus on optimizing English bigrams, the second-most used English bigram, "HE", is still kind of awkward due to same-hand lateral motion. This bigram is much easier in both QWERTY and Dvorak. If your concern is RSI, Colemak isn't good enough.
Con AZXCV don't move compared to QWERTY
This will allow one to intuitively access popular shortcuts, but the truth is that the placement of these keys is a compromise in terms of actual typing ergonomics.
Con Puts E on the pinky
'E' is the most used English letter by far, at almost 13%. That's almost as much as the spacebar. It needs to be on a strong finger. The pinky is the weakest finger and on the right side it is already overtaxed from Ctrl, Shift, and Enter.
Con P and E change fingers from QWERTY
Which makes it harder than necessary to learn from QWERTY. (And makes no sense. 'E' was arguably better in its QWERTY position on a strong finger.) This is due to using the flawed Carpalx effort model.