JabRef 5.3 jar file


On my Ubuntu 18.04 LTS machine, I used to have JabRef 4.3.1.
My website is built using a Makefile in which I have a command going like this
java -jar ~/JabRef/JabRef-4.3.1.jar -n -o
which is used in a Phony.

I’ve upgraded JabRef to 5.3. However, I can no longer run it my Ubuntu machine.

I also use JabRef 4.3.1 on my mac. Please also comment how to config JabRef 5.3 on mac about the issue above.

Any insight is very much obliged.



since JabRef 5.x there is no longer a single jar.
For linux passing command line parameters should work this way:
See also our docs Command line use and options - JabRef

<path to jabref>/JabRef/lib/runtime/bin/JabRef -n -o 

For mac to use command line parameters, you need to call:

/Applications/JabRef.app/Contents/runtime/Contents/Home/bin/JabRef  -n -o 

oh lol, you were 1 minute faster xD i will delete my comment, you answer is more accurate.

@ThiloteE No problem. Feel free to answer other questions :wink:

will do if i know the answers :slight_smile:

Hi Christoph,

First off, many thanks for your reply.
On my Ubuntu machine, I installed JabRef using snap install jabref. I also once installed JabRef through Ubuntu Software. Could you please point me where I can find the path to lib folder in both ways of installation.


  1. If JabRef is installed using Ubuntu Software, the location of JabRef is /snap/jabref/current/ where the directories bin and lib can be found, is this correct?

According to Snap documentation (Getting started | Snapcraft documentation), it should be somewhere in /snap/bin/jabref/

what do you mean with “installed through ubuntu software”? What commands did you use?

Ubuntu Software is a APT/dpkg package management system (like App Store) where different packages/applications can be installed. One way to install JabRef is using this center. I think that the Software Center got updated by @koppor today.

If I use the command sudo snap install jabref to install the latest stable version, I cannot have access to my Dropbox folder which is mounted to /media directory. However, when I install it through Software Center, I have the option for permissions. Any insight?

According to JabRef documentation>installation>troubleshooting>Linux (Installation - JabRef) "The snap and flatpak packages cannot interact directly with external programs (i.e. programs not contained in the package sandbox). " But from my user perspective it seems weird if it were to be that a mere folder path could not be accessed.

Ok, i think i get it. It becomes clear when reading the history of snaps. Confinement exists mostly for security reasons. There is an automated review system in place instead of a review system with real people. https://ubuntu.com/blog/snaps-how-we-got-here