I was under the impression that the linux community is fed up with RPMs?
A distro which is RPM-based doesn't force the user to rely on RPMs only. For example, I use SuSE most of the time, which is RPM-based. However, once I get the basic system set up, with gcc/make and the other essentials, just about everything else is installed from source. The RPM is just an easy way to get the system set up initially.