Red Hat, N.C. State University and, the “people’s library” at UNC-Chapel Hill are charter members in a group unveiled Wednesday with the mission of touting open source solutions for the federal government.

The organization has embraced an agenda calling for a more transparent, participatory, secure and efficient by using open-source software

“The Obama Administration has articulated its interest in developing an open, transparent and participatory government from its very first days in office,” wrote Red Hat Chief Executive Officer Jim Whitehurst “The formation of Open Source for America is a step in the right direction to advocate and promote the benefits of open source and help achieve a truly effective and efficient government.

“Open source provides an answer to government agencies at all levels as they look for opportunities to carve out IT costs, improve security and increase efficiency,” he added. “Government agencies are using Red Hat’s open source solutions to meet mission-critical IT demands and improve service delivery.”

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) develops Linux open source software and services.

, which is directed by UNC professor Paul Jones, a strong open source advocate, is part of the group for several reasons, Jones said.

“We’re delighted to help explain and promote the rewards and benefits of open sources to the government sector,” Jones explained. “Open code is a giant step toward providing the kind of transparency and accountability that democracies require.”

NCSU’s is also a founding member.

Open Source for America includes more than 50 companies, universities, organizations and individuals.

Other corporate members are Sun, Novell, Google and AMD.

“Open source software can help deliver improved government service – plain and simple – and the (Obama administration) recognizes this more than any in our nation’s history,” said David Thomas, principal with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and a spokesman for the Open Source for America campaign, in a statement.

“Open Source for America is bringing together some of the industry’s brightest minds, who will work together with policymakers and the public so that technologies enabled by the software freedoms can help make government IT deployment more secure, more cost-effective, faster to deploy, with greater privacy and the ability to help eliminate vendor lock-in,” he added. “Open source software may not be a cure-all, but it could save billions of dollars, help foster innovation and empower our government to work smarter.”

Founding members of Open Source for America:

Acquia; Alfresco Software; Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.; Jono Bacon; Black Duck Software, Inc.; Josh Berkus; Ean Schuessler, BrainFood; Canonical; CodeWeavers; CollabNet; Colosa, Inc.; Continuent; Danese Cooper; Crucial Point LLC; Josh Davis; Debian; Democracy in Action; Electronic Frontier Foundation; EnterpriseDB; Bdale Garbee; GNOME Foundation; Google; JC Herz;; Ingres Corporation; Jaspersoft; Mitch Kapor, Kapor Capital; KnowledgeTree; Marv Langston; The Linux Foundation; Linux Fund, Inc.; Lucid Imagination; Geir Magnusson, Jr.; Medsphere; Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti; Mercury Federal Systems; Monty Widenius, Monty Program AB; Mozilla; North Carolina State University Center for Open Software Engineering; Novell; Open Solutions Alliance; Open Source Initiative; Open Source Institute; Oracle; O’Reilly Publishing; Oregon State University Open Source Lab; Open Source Software Institute; Pentaho; RadiantBlue; Red Hat; Relative Computing Environments LLC.; REvolution Computing; Walt Scacchi, Institute for Software Research at UC Irvine; Software Freedom Law Center; SpikeSource; SugarCRM; Sunlight Labs; Sun Microsystems; School of Engineering, University of California, Merced; University of Southern Mississippi; Andy Updegrove, Gesmer Updegrove LLP; Tony Wasserman, Center for Open Source Investigation, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley; Zenoss, Inc.; Zimbra; and Zmanda.