I think you guys are all just trying to scare people away from buying the best riding motorcycle in the world for long distance and adventure travel. I bought my 2008 a few weeks ago and have already done 300+ miles with only one Final Drive being needed so far. EWS is not even a safety issue unless your motorcycle will not start in the dark in a bad section of town. Focus on the bigger picture- Splines, Final Drives, and centerstand bolts shearing off. Drink the Kool-Aid and ride my friends.
This is my 3rd GS by the way. First one was a 2003 R1150GSA that I put 36,000 miles on and only needed a head gasket, front brake caliper, a few tail lights, and some fuel fittings that spewed gas all over my transmission and turned it yellow. Second one was a 2005 R1200GS and I drove it 34,600 miles and all it needed was a Final Drive, transmission seals, slave cylinder, and centerstand pivot bolts. I drove it to Alaska, Mexico, and everything in between and the EWS never reared its ugly message.
I will be driving this 2008 ADV to Prudhoe in 2009, God willing, and if I keep reading this thread between now and then I will carry the spare antenna. I like the idea of buying a community one that can be next-day-aired to anyone stranded.