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UDFContext NULL JobConf

in my UDF (Java) the following code throws and NPE, when executed in -x
mapred mode:

Configuration jobConf = UDFContext.getUDFContext().getJobConf();

I did not find any useful information as why my JobConf is always null. All
I find is that this is the right way to get the JobConf in a UDF and that
the behavior of what is returned when running locally (jira issue).

Any ideas? I am running it on a very old Hadoop version 0.20.2 Are there
some known issues?

Many thanks in advanced