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 Why so outdated?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I'm just seriously questioning whether I bought into an already out of date ecosystem that appears to be this fancy, fine-tuned OS...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