It's most definitely going to be difficult to have a 8 year futureproof laptop; you'll have to upgrade at some point.
I got a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 fairly recently and it's great; so I would definitely second theothermuse's recommendation. The build quality - screen, keyboard, etc - on this is unparalleled; and I am certain it'll last me a long time.
I also have the 2.0 GHz processor with 4MB cache (the processor one step below this only has 2MB cache; and this is still relatively cheap which is likely why your brother recommended it. Overall, it's probably the best bang for the buck without going too expensive for a processor).
You can choose to have integrated X3100 Intel GMA965 graphics; nobody really knows the potential of it yet as many drivers hvae yet to be released but don't expect that much. Some Thinkpads come with the option of a discrete graphics card, but they aren't anything to be amazed by; I opted out of it because I wanted longer battery life.
If you need any more suggestions or advice, just PM me