File compatibility across distros

Q If you have a document in, say, AbiWord, or another program, can it simply be read by someone who has another distribution of Linux?

In other words, if soul A writes something in AbiWord on their Debian machine, and sends it to soul B, who has SUSE, or to soul C, who wears a Fedora, or soul D, who has a Yellow Dog, can these all simply be read, say by someone who has OOo, but not AbiWord?

Further, if I were to have, say, SUSE and Debian, or another distribution, on the same machine, is it simple enough to transfer that file to the Linux on the other hard drive or partition? This may be a simple question, but I recall reading years ago that information can't necessarily be easily transferred from one Linux distribution to another. It doesn't make sense to me why this would be the case, but... Right now, I'm thinking that I would like to get a machine and put either Mandrake or SUSE on it. Though I'm always reading good things about Debian, too. I realise that the focus of some of these distributions is different, or at least it is my distinct impression that they are directed toward different purposes. Any advice?

A Every distribution is essentially the same: the Linux kernel with the GNU tools. Debian, Mandrake, Fedora and everything else is pretty much the same thing under the hood, although they have different installers and styles to the installation. As long as the file format being used is portable across different applications, then the file can be read on any distribution, or even operating system, without much hassle. Sharing files between different distributions is done all the time without any problems. Indeed, many people share files between Linux and other platforms, such as BSD, Windows, Solaris and so forth, for remote file access and portability.

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