For non-Debian-style distributions:
1. download http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2183775/kobo-desktop.deb
2. it unpacks into a couple of files, one of them is data.tar.gz; unpack it in root:
gzcat data.tar.gz | (cd /; tar -xvpPf - )
Note that the executable in /usr/local/Kobo/Kobo may appear to miss some required libraries (check ldd /usr/local/Kobo/Kobo | grep found) but these may be bogus as the libraries are in the same directory, except ldconfig does not seek this location. A short script in /usr/bin/Kobo, which should be the first on the PATH, anyways, sets up some env vars to take care of the non-standard library locations (why the Kobo team decided to do it this way is another matter).
Under Zenwalk (a streamlined Slackware distro), I actually used the standard package tool:
mv data.tar.gz data.tgz; netpkg data.tgz
and all went well.
The firmware is at 1.9.2, WiFi is seeing networks, device synced nicely with the existing Kobo acount.
Now, if only WiFi knew about USERNAMES not just passwords (WPA Enterprise? - but this is not the only place where USERNAME may be required...), but this is a topic for another post.