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RTOS has gained popularity over the years in microcontroller/processor-based embedded system design. In this paper, we will discuss the important differences between RTOS and generic OS, the advantages and disadvantages of using RTOS for small microcontroller system development, and the benchmarking methods used for RTOS. Several RTOSes are studied and compared based upon numerous selection criteria, and four RTOSes are selected for performance benchmarking on the same microcontroller platform. For the purpose of performance benchmarking, a list of benchmarking criteria which is aimed to be simple and representative of typical RTOS usages are examined. The benchmarking results show that there is no clear winner and each RTOS performed well on certain criteria compared to others.