Maven supports the “so” packaging. When “so”-packaged dependency is used in a Maven project, the native library has to be:

  • available to the unit tests;
  • available during execution of classes (from within the IDE);
  • packaged into the application jar so that it is available during production execution.

Turns out that a fair amount of POM tweaking is needed to achieve all this. As my other Maven-related posts, this one documents the solution that I found.

Unpack the libraries from the dependencies

Define a property pointing to the directory where the native libraries will be unpacked, e.g.:


Unpack the libraries from the dependencies, e.g.:



The chosen phase has to be early enough to make the libraries available during “execute”, “test” and “package” activities.

Set up unit tests

java.library.path has to be set for the native libraries to be available to the unit tests:


Note that “argLine” is used, and not “systemProperties” (or its more modern replacement “systemPropertyVariables”), since even with the forked execution (forkMode=”once”, which is the default) surefire plugin does not set the java.library.path early enough for it to matter ;) Actually, execution of individual tests from within the NetBeans IDE works with the “systemProperties” (but not with “systemPropertyVariables”), but I need “mvn test” to just work…

Set up class execution

I do not yet know how to tweak java.library.path for execution of the project classes. Attempts to affect configuration of the exec-maven-plugin and pass appropriate argument were unsuccessful.

Package the libraries

One-Jar takes care of unpacking the libraries from the jar and putting them where loadLibrary() can will them. All that needs to be done is telling One-Jar which libraries to pack:


If One-Jar is not being used to package the executable, things get trickier ;)

Procedurality of it all

Most of the necessary steps have a very “procedural”, Ant-like feeling to them and go against the - purported - declarative style of Maven. I do not think that Maven is Object-Oriented enough for this sequence of interrelated steps to be packageable as a unit (unless it is a special plugin?). In fact, I do not understand why doesn’t Maven do all (or at least most) of the steps itself - after all, I do declare an so dependency?!

Am I missing something?


venkat Friday, June 29, 2012 11:39:00 PM

Thanks for the blog post. The native files are copied to target/libs directory. But, I don’t see them in the jar file. Is this expected ?

Leonid Dubinsky Wednesday, July 11, 2012 1:23:00 PM

Native libraries should be inside “binlib” directory in the OneJar jar.

Anonymous Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:01:00 PM

A typo there: needs to be “argLine” instead of “argline” in surefire configuration.