mips32 creates a 32-bit MIPS environment for specified program, usually shell. The environment is inherited by all child processes of that program, unless they set a different personality. The 32-bit MIPS environment currently only means all uname system calls (and thus also outputs of the uname(1) program with -m or -a options) will return mips instead of mips64 as machine type. mips64(8) can be used to temporarily switch back.
A typical use is when building 32-bit software on a 64-bit system. In particular GNU autoconf may cause problems if it detects the system type as 64-bit or even fails on 64-bit system. To do this a shell in which the uname command will return mips can be created by invoking mips32 as:
$ uname -m mips64 $ exec mips32 $SHELL $ uname -m mips $
Now the package can be built as usual with no modifications to configuration scripts.
The mips32 package has been created based on Jakub Jelinek's sparc32 v1.1 by simple editing.