Why do a majority of apps fail to work? Why so outdated?

So, I've tried installing apps from the software store, such as TypeCatcher, which shows that it's coming from the Zorin OS repo... and after it installs, when I click "Open" nothing happens. This occurs for many, many other applications. On top of that, I've noticed that an even higher percentage of applications were last updated years ago. There are a ■■■■ ton of clipboard managers, but I only was able to get one to work and be fully functional... and it was a GNOME extension.

I'm just seriously questioning whether I bought into an already out of date ecosystem that appears to be this fancy, fine-tuned OS... but, really isn't. "All that glitters is not gold"

First, what version are you using - Zorin 16.3 or Zorin 17? Are you on a Lite (Xfce) version or Core/Pro (GNOME) version? Have you changed any repositories? Hard to help you when we don’t know all the details of your system. Also, did you do a fresh installation of a recent upgrade? So you know, Zorin 16.3 is based on Ubuntu’s 20.04 LTS and will have a lot of older packages and Zorin 17 is based on Ubuntu 22.04 with somewhat newer packages but possibly dated too. With more details we might be able to help.

Zorin OS 17 Pro. I first installed 17 as Core from the live disk and then upgraded to Pro. I haven't manually changed/added any new repos.

Again, although ZOS has their own PPA repositories for popular applications like LibreOffice thereby keeping them much newer at each point release, many of the other programs are based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and the respective repositories which are likely to have older programs at this point. You might want to check if there is a Flatpak, Snap, or AppImages version that might be a newer. I have been using Linux for 6 years and used to use Solus and Manjaro, both rolling releases, thinking I needed the latest packages. It turns out I don’t and often the new packages contained little bugs that I had no idea how to fix. So I started using LTS type distributions like Pop!_OS, Mint, and Zorin and been happy ever since. Everyone is different. If you need the latest software not provided by Flapaks, Snaps, or AppImages, another distribution like Fedora or Arch might be more appropriate.

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You may want to see if the apps in question work better under X11. Zorin 17 uses the Wayland graphics display system by default. See if the apps work with Zorin on X11. To change to X11, when you are at the login screen, select your username, but before entering your password look at the cog that appears bottom right, click on it and select bottom option, then login.

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This is an LTS Distro. So, the Packages are older. That brings this Concept with it. And Zorin is based on Ubuntu which means that a lot of the Software comes from the Ubuntu Sources.

If you want more up-to-date Programs You can simply download the .deb File from the specific Developer or using Flatpak for Example.

If You want a more up-to-date System maybe the LTS Concept isn't the right Thing for You. But that is no Problem. You could try Fedora. It has another Release Cycle and is has so more newer Software. Or You could try openSUSE Tumbleweed. Solus would be an interesting Choice, too. But because of the Past I would be carefully.

One other point to make is that Team Zorin have done an excellent job on stating in the Store what the different versions of software are available (APT, flatpak, snap). If APT was the only available option, that is because the authors of the particular app in question have either:

a) not bothered to update the app to a newer package format, or;

b) have only updated to the latest version of Gnome.

Without details of the App/s in question, we cannot answer that.

As you started on Zorin OS 16 and upgraded to Zorin OS 17, and many packages will not launch, we should check for breakage:

What is your terminal output for

sudo apt update

Do you have any remaining Focal sourced repos?:

ls /etc/apt/sources.list.d

cat /etc/apt/sources.list

Everyone here is focusing on apps being "outdated" because it's an LTS based distro and that is fine. But in my opinion, the "not working" part of OP's complaint is much more important.

One problem is that the software app contains too much random stuff. Other distros suffer from the same issue. You will see lots of apps in there that only work for one specific desktop environment (typically one of the Ubuntu flavors) or unverified apps from Flathub that you probably shouldn't trust with your credentials, and stuff like that. It's fine that Zorin offers everything "just in case", but it'd be even better if the Software app had much stronger curation of apps that specifically make sense to install on Zorin OS. Kind of like a Twitter feed of app recommendations, but front and center in the Software app, and then apps that have been highlighted should also appear more prominently in search results.

A bit like Apple does it on their iOS App Store. There's also a lot of half-baked web apps etc. in there, but it doesn't feel like a broken ecosystem because everything nudges you towards the more polished apps and games in there.

Good idea.

Not sure how only two Zorin developers will develop their operating system, customize various apps to work with ZOS, create their own repositories, fix bugs, create updates, create a GNOME version and Xfce version, oh and by the way, test thousands of applications to make sure they work on all the possible permutations of hardware, chipsets, CPUs, RAM, and peripherals. This from a volunteer group - not a large software maker like Adobe, MS, or Apple.

Software will never be perfect for everyone and as a community we can help with bug reports to help solve these inevitable problems.

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I'm aware that the Zorin team can't manually test everything in Ubuntu Universe or Flathub. What I meant re: "Twitter feed" was that it'd be nice if the existing recommendations section in the Software app had short editors' blurbs besides the apps, but I don't know if that is technically possible (and I'm not even sure who makes the picks, Ubuntu? Zorin? Gnome? Flathub?).

But there is already a "Recommended" section on the Software front page. If there was a process to keep track of what has ever been in there, those apps could be emphasized in search results. The verification status of apps on Flathub and Snapcraft should also be emphasized more strongly (see recent snap crypto scams) and affect how prominently results are being shown. And after this handful of automatable metrics (and maybe some manual fixes), you could have a big fat divider between known-good search results and "additional random stuff, use at your own risk" to set expectations when users install packages.

Sure, maybe all of this is unrealistic (like most feature requests). But I also don't know how else you would explain to users that "Clipman", which is the #2 search result if you look for clipboard managers, is actually an app that was specifically designed for XFCE4 on X11 and may only work there. (Example inspired by OP) That's nothing which can be fixed by community bug tickets, as the package is not generally broken.

Their feed comes from Flathub, GNOME software, Snap (Canonical), and Ubuntu/Debian. Zorin is a derivative of Ubuntu. All Zorin does is add the extra Flathub repository to Ubuntu's software store which already incudes Snaps & Debian/Ubuntu packages. Ubuntu's new 24.04 LTS is finally supposed to fix some of the Ubuntu software store problems that have plagued them since the 22.04 LTS. But I am sure that will introduce new problems.

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