MEPIS LLC and MEPIS Linux were founded by industry veteran Warren Woodford in November 2002 to create a user-friendly Linux version that 'just works' based on Debian Linux. The first release was in May 2003. In July 2006, MEPIS transitioned with the release of 6.0 from using Debian packages to using packages and repositories from Ubuntu 6.06LTS ('Dapper Drake').
A major upgrade (6.5) came out in April 2007, introducing for the first time 64-bit and Mactel support. A few months later, anticapitalista, a member of the European MEPIS community, released his well-received antiX based on a MEPIS Linux core and optimized for old and low-spec computers.
In Version 7.0, released in December, 2007, MEPIS Linux switched its base to a combination of MEPIS packaged binaries, based on Debian and Ubuntu source code, combined with a Debian Stable OS core and extra packages from Debian package pools. As the developer explains: 'By using the latest Debian and Ubuntu source code for building user applications, we can provide the best latest versions of the applications users want the most. And by building on top of a Debian Stable core, we can provide a release that has the stability and long life that users want.' The emergence of a Community Packaging Team has allowed users to remain current with application releases while retaining the signature stability.
MEPIS development continues to track Debian development. MEPIS 8.0 was released in February 2009 as 'Lenny' became the new Debian Stable 5.0, and now MEPIS 8.5 integrates the KDE 4.3 desktop with that release.