What kind of laptop for a fresh Ubuntu / BackTrack install...?

Hey everyone, so I'm an Information Security major and one of our projects required us to build two virtual servers (Cent OS and Windows 2008) to test and add services to. After completing this course, I have decided I would like to buy a laptop and install Ubuntu / BackTrack to a new machine for further use and testing. I have done plenty of research on different laptops and it seems each one has inherent "bugs" with the software in some way or another.

So my question is, with the requirements of BackTrack/Ubuntu dualbooting, what would be the best laptop, or even the best brand to get?

(I have looked at the system 76 line, but its too expensive, I was thinking around 200-300 for a laptop of some sort)

Thank you!
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  1. What do you mean by "bugs"? For an "information security major" that's a pretty non specific term.

    ps your going to have a hard time finding a laptop with modern hardware in that price range. Most of what you will find <$300 will be netbooks and refurbished low end laptops.
  2. Well by "bugs" I mean some people have reported that there are issues with specific models of laptops such as wireless cards not having packet injection therefore requiring me to have to buy a wireless dongle device. I just wanted opinions on laptops that people have bought that worked for them.
  3. If you require packet injection then thats probably where you should start. find out what wifi adaptor the model of laptop uses and if it will work with the packet injection.
  4. I wouldn't call that a bug, thats just a issue of the driver not supporting a niche feature.

    unfortunately getting a wireless card that has support for packet injection is difficult. Backtrack does contain patched kernel drivers to support it in some cases where the default does not(b43 for example), but its hard to know what chipset is used in the laptop without prior access to it as vendors do not use any one specific chipset. Even worse vendors can change wireless chipsets even within the same model numbers.

    Honestly your best bet is to get a USB dongle that is known to work (avoid broadcom chipsets at all costs, does not play well). I would poke around in the backtrack forum to get a better idea of whats compatible with their wlan patches. Or if anyone has reported a specific laptop that has a chipset that is capable of injection. The aireplay wiki has a nice compilation of devices too.
  5. Alfa network cards tend to have packet injection. Since it uses realtek chipset. I used AWUS036h for a few years and it works great with a 9dBi antenna or cantenna. Also a benefit of an usb wifi card is that it will work in a virtual machine.. The onboard wifi card will not work if you are running backtrack in a vm.

    Make a backtrack live distro with dvd or usb. Go to the electronic store and ask the person who works there that you want to buy a laptop or netbook but you have to make sure the card is supported in linux first.
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