Using System Properties

There are two ways to add a list of system properties to Surefire:

systemPropertyVariables

This configuration is the replacement of the deprecated systemProperties. It can accept any value from Maven's properties that can be converted to String value.

<project>
  [...]
  <build>
    <plugins>
      <plugin>
        <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
        <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
        <version>2.12.2</version>
        <configuration>
          <systemPropertyVariables>
            <propertyName>propertyValue</propertyName>
            <buildDirectory>${project.build.directory}</buildDirectory>
            [...]
          </systemPropertyVariables>
        </configuration>
      </plugin>
    </plugins>
  </build>
  [...]
</project>

systemProperties ( deprecated )

<project>
  [...]
  <build>
    <plugins>
      <plugin>
        <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
        <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
        <version>2.12.2</version>
        <configuration>
          <systemProperties>
            <property>
              <name>propertyName</name>
              <value>propertyValue</value>
            </property>
            [...]
          </systemProperties>
        </configuration>
      </plugin>
    </plugins>
  </build>
  [...]
</project>

Take note that only String valued properties can be passed as system properties. Any attempt to pass any other Maven variable type (i.e. List or a URL variable) will cause the variable expression to be passed literally (unevaluated). So having the example below:

<project>
  [...]
  <build>
    <plugins>
      <plugin>
        <groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
        <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
        <version>2.12.2</version>
        <configuration>
          <systemProperties>
            <property>
              <name>buildDir</name>
              <value>${project.build.outputDirectory}</value>
            </property>
          </systemProperties>
        </configuration>
      </plugin>
    </plugins>
  </build>
  [...]
</project>

will literally pass ${project.build.outputDirectory} because the value of that expression is a File, not a String.

To inherit the "systemProperties" collection from the parent configuration, you will need to specify combine.children="append" on the systemProperties node in the child pom:

  <systemProperties combine.children="append">
      <property>
         [...]
      </property>
   </systemProperties>

Special VM properties

Some system properties must be set on the command line of the forked VM, and cannot be set after the VM has been started. These properties must be added to the argLine parameter of the surefire plugin.

  <argLine>-Djava.endorsed.dirs=...</argLine>