Following hub's lead, I got tmdns up and running. After a lot of teeth-grinding, it happens so that the mdk-provided patch I blindly applied broke the local resolves. That'll teach me. So getting from my Linux desktop machine to my laptop and vice-versa via .local names works fine.
Getting service discovery working is another pickle. I could discover services I created myself, see outside services, but Safari just refused to connect to the services I created.
I managed to create an HTTP service and my local machine shows up nicely in Safari, and I can load the page (the half-way there syndrom). Bags'o'tricks. Need to get yakk to review my small patch. Hopefully that'll get him going again.