can i transport apple lossless between pc & mac?

I bought a seagate external usb drive for backing up the apple lossless files i am accumulating in my desktop. The manual cautions against using the external drive to share files between pc and mac operating systems. I'm hoping that this is less of a concern with itunes music files, since i would hate to have to rerip all my cds if i decide ultimately to implement a mac in my hi fi, after having used itunes for windows to rip. For that matter i would hope i could revert to pc should i regret the mac choice. Will the operating system i use to rip lock me in for future playback?
How is the drive formatted?

As I understand it a PC can't read a drive formatted for Apple but an Apple can read some PC drives.

My local Mac dealer tells me that a Mac can read/write PC formatted drives but for the long term it will have problems.

Since I chose to use a Mini Mac I've formatted my drives for Apple.

I realize that is probably no help,
It's not about the file format, it's about the disk format. The default format in Windows XP is NTFS, and OSX (10.3 or 10.4) will only read NTFS, not write to it. The default format in OSX is HFS Plus, which WinXP won't read or write. Both WinXP and OSX will read/write FAT32, but OSX can only see partitions less than 128 gigs. WinXP will only format a FAT32 partition less than 32 gigs. OSX will only format an entire disk FAT32, not partitions. Confused yet? :-)

If you can live with 32 gig partitions, you only need WinXP. Format your disk there, OSX will read/write it, and your Apple Lossless files will work in iTunes on either machine. If you want 128 gig partitions, you have to use other software. You can create partitions of 128 gigs in Windows 98, which WILL format a FAT32 partition bigger than 32 gigs. OSX will read/write these. You can also use a third party partitioning product like Partition Magic, which also will create and format FAT32 partitions of 128 gigs.

Bottom line is as long as both operating systems can see your hard drive, the Apple Lossless files will work in both Windows and OSX.
I beleive Herman is correct, Apple can read PC drive, but PS's may have issues with Apple drive.... I will try to give a more accurate answer when I can review the new Macworld, I remember reading something about this in ithe review of the new power book pro's.

Why not simply network the two computers and transfer them via the network, then just keep the drive as backup, in whichever format you are most likely to stick with.
I would think with the new Intel based Macs this problem will go away.
I was thinking the same thing Kennyt suggested. That is, if you're going to run an iTunes based system try networking the computers. We do this at work with an old iMac as the music server with 500gigs of storage. That way PCs and Macs can play them through iTunes.
When I bought my Mac Mini I asked the geek at the Apple store about this and he told me to use Apple formatting. He said that even though the Mac would read/write fat32 that "eventually" it would start to have problems and I would lose data. I have no idea if that is correct.

Even if the drive is networked won't it have to be formatted in fat32 so both machines can use it?
If the machines are networked all the disk format issues go away as the networking software handles all that. I think Wkraft was talking about connecting the external USB drive directly to both a Mac and a PC for backup purposes. If that's the case, my post above applies.

Herman, there used to be major issues with the way Macs handled FAT32, but I've found OSX 10.3 and above to be rock solid.
thanks for the info. it seems that establishing a network will be the solution. Any tips on making a mac network with a pc will be appreciated.
I switched from a pc to mac last year. I transfered all my music from the pc with my seagate portable hardrive formatted with fat 32. I have had it connected to my mac all this time and it has not given me any problems.