At the openSUSE Conference 2015 SUSE announced that it has released SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) sources, including all maintenance updates, into the OBS reference server. This opened up the possibility to unite SLE and openSUSE developers and processes for stable distribution releases (SLE12/13.2).
Richard Brown captured the idea of a new release using the SLE sources in his presentation The Future is unwritten at oSC15.
More details can be found in Roadmap.
Stephan Kulow proposed that the basic work flow is that SLE sources provide the core system and "desktop stuff" comes from Tumbleweed.
- packages with free software license 
- packages with non free licenses 
- updates for packages with free software license 
- updates for packages with non free licenses 
Package Submission Workflow
Packagers branch and file submit requests to openSUSE:Leap:42.1 like with any other project. The usual automated and manual review methods as known from Tumbleweed are applied to those requests. After all reviews are passed the project maintainer accepts the submit requests.
Original plans for Leap were to use the SLE provided Version 3.12 Kernel. However there were concerns regarding the support for new hardware. Takashi Iwai and Richard Brown proposed using the new 4.1 LTS Kernel as the default Kernel in Leap, which was integrated into the distribution on July 22, 2015.
Richard Biener proposed to switch the gcc5 compiler in openSUSE:Leap:42.1 to the old libstdc++ ABI to avoid breakage (when mixing some binaries). The switch to the new libstdc++ ABI would occur at a later flag day. The default compiler version for openSUSE:Leap:42 has not ultimately been set to gcc5 as of July 1 2015; for now, it remains 4.8.
RPM Distro Version Macros
- suse_version 1315 for the full time life of SLE12 and openSUSE:Leap:42.1
- additionally is_opensuse 1 for openSUSE:Leap:42.1 to mark differences
Name and Versioning
Rainer Fiebig suggested Leap as a name for the distribution. openSUSE members asked the openSUSE board to make a decision on the name as there were a few others suggested.
On July 6, 2015, The Name & Version for the new openSUSE Regular Distribution email was released. The board decided on the name Leap. The naming of Leap was an extensive thread and can be found under the how to name the baby thread.
The Best of Two Worlds
Proven SUSE enterprise-components, an LTS-kernel and long-term support combine with the innovative spirit of the Open-Source community for excellent reliability and just right up-to-dateness.
Agreements were made that Leap would target people who are looking for a stable base for workstations and servers. This was because openSUSE's other distribution Tumbleweed addresses people who are looking for the latest and greatest Free and Open Source software and packages.