Startup applications not starting

I've recently completed a new install of 16 after I broke my 15 install and I'm having some trouble wrangling my startup applications. There are 4 things that are supposed to launch on startup: Firefox, Mumble, Signal, and Steam. It all worked fine on 15 but now the last two are giving me trouble and only one or the other will start, I'll check the startup menu and one of them will be missing. Steam and signal are both flatpaks if that makes any difference. Any idea what's up with this?

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

Are you using Lite or Core version? Please update your profile to reflect which version of ZorinOS are you using so that's it's easier to troubleshoot issues in the future.

If it's core, you can take a look at this reply from another thread as Flatpak is likely the issue in this case:

You can run flatpak list to find out the fully qualified domain of the program you want to run. I don't know what that looks like for Signal nor Steam but should be something like "org.gnome.signal" or whatever, not just "signal" or "steam". See the example from the linked thread.

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Thanks m8, that command seemed to do the trick. Though i'm still not sure why, the way programs are handled in linux seems so confusing to me.

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Flatpak is a relatively new format to package and distribute programs. One of their virtues is that they run in isolation to the rest of the system so they are more secure, at least in theory. But precisely because of this isolation they sometimes don't play all that well with the rest of the system and need to be granted additional permissions separately.
There are other similar formats as well, one of them being Snaps which broadly speaking aim to do the same thing.

The "traditional" package format for Debian and Ubuntu (in case you are unaware, ZorinOS is based on Ubuntu, which is in turn based on Debian) is the .deb package format. Generally speaking, I would recommend installing this format as it has the greatest stability and compatibility. For example if you take a look at the software store you will sometimes see multiple versions of the same software being available for download:

I specifically choose one where all three versions are available: Flatpak, Snap and ZorinOS. In this case "Zorin OS" is really the .deb package format, whereas Flathub and Snapcraft are the app stores for their respective package formats.
Also, sometimes the vendor distributes their software directly on their website, for example in the case of Steam:

However, don't worry too much about it. If you are using a Flatpak or Snap and everything works for you, there's no reason to change things around. There are pros and cons to all formats and it's a personal choice you have to make based on your needs.

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It should be noted that Linux has already "sandboxed" applications to begin with. So the flat or snap is running a containerized (all dependencies included with the application) app in a sandbox. So it's twice removed from the system.

This is why flat and snap are so large and have issues doing what they need to. Without access to the system, they must go through more to access hardware or operate as they are intended.

I have the .deb of steam, which starts when you use steam in the terminal. While your startup apps would need the FQDN of the package manager for snap or flat.

If you have both installed, remove the flatpak version, as it will be more problematic.

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