Java – Why can’t JAXB find the jaxb.index when running inside Apache Felix


It's right there, in the package that it should be indexing. Still, when I call

JAXBContext jc = JAXBContext.newInstance("");

I get a JAXBException saying that

"" doesnt contain ObjectFactory.class or jaxb.index

although it does contain both.

What does work, but isn't quite what I want, is

JAXBContext jc = JAXBContext.newInstance(;

This question from various other people appears on quite some mailing lists and forums but seemingly doesn't get answers.

I'm running this on OpenJDK 6, so I got the source packages and stepped my debugger into the library. It starts by looking for, then looks for system properties and failing to find either, it tries to create the default context using com.sun.internal.xml.bind.v2.ContextFactory. In there, the Exception gets thrown (inside ContextFactor.createContext(String ClassLoader, Map)), but I can't see what's going on because the source isn't here.


Judging from the source code for ContentFactory, I found here, this is probably the piece of code that fails to work as intended:

 * Look for jaxb.index file in the specified package and load it's contents
 * @param pkg package name to search in
 * @param classLoader ClassLoader to search in
 * @return a List of Class objects to load, null if there weren't any
 * @throws IOException if there is an error reading the index file
 * @throws JAXBException if there are any errors in the index file
private static List<Class> loadIndexedClasses(String pkg, ClassLoader classLoader) throws IOException, JAXBException {
    final String resource = pkg.replace('.', '/') + "/jaxb.index";
    final InputStream resourceAsStream = classLoader.getResourceAsStream(resource);

    if (resourceAsStream == null) {
        return null;

From my previous experience, I'm guessing that this has to do with the class loading mechanisms of the OSGi container that this is running in. Unfortunately, I am still a little out of my depth here.

Best Solution

OK, this took quite some digging, but the answer is not that surprising and not even that complicated:

JAXB can't find jaxb.index, because by default, newInstance(String) uses the current thread's class loader (as returned by Thread.getContextClassLoader()). This doesn't work inside Felix, because the OSGi bundles and the framework's threads have separate class loaders.

The solution is to get a suitable class loader from somewhere and use newInstance(String, ClassLoader). I got a suitable class loader from one of the classes in the package that contains jaxb.index, a sensible choice for flexibility reasons probably is ObjectFactory:

ClassLoader cl =;
JAXBContext jc = JAXBContext.newInstance("", cl);

Maybe you could also get at the class loader that the Bundle instance is using, but I couldn't figure out how, and the above solution seems safe to me.

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