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File Handles

I am running Mint 1.14.7 with mintos.
When running several instances of the same application, are file handles
the same over the system regardless of which application is opening a
eg: If each process uses file # 48 for a particlular file, and one tries
to access the file while it is already opened by the other, does the 
system handle this file as the same for both processes, namely reporting 
the file is already opened, or as seperate occurances. 
As I have mulitple iterations of the same process on terminals, these
processes of course treat files exactly the same.
Also when a file is opened, is time sharing stopped until the file is 
I occasionally have a program quit when 2 terminals try to access the 
same file a the same time.
This problem only occurs on rare occasions, about 4 times in over 1000
hours of running.
Thirsk Engine /Ponoka/Alberta/Canada
Email  thirsk@telusplanet.net