Linode's uses "StackScripts" for customizing nodes -- these are run-once scripts that do any configuration on top of a stock OS distribution.
There were already a few Chef-related stack scripts, but the most-promising ones all set up RVM and installed Chef from gems, which seemed overly complicated. I decided to write my own, since it only takes about 20 lines:
#!/bin/sh # Don't prompt during installs export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive # Enable Opscode repository echo "deb http://apt.opscode.com/ `lsb_release -cs`-0.10 main"; | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opscode.list # Upgrade the system apt-get update apt-get upgrade -y # Install Opscode key and update database again apt-get install --allow-unauthenticated -y opscode-keyring apt-get update # Install chef apt-get install -y chef # We don't need Chef Client for Chef Solo, so shut it off /etc/init.d/chef-client stop update-rc.d -f chef-client remove
If you use Linode, it's StackScript 5537: Minimal Chef Solo
It's Ubuntu-specific, since that's what I'm using, but you're welcome to adapt it for your own OS.