Thank you both dws and shotgunefx, I posted a longer reply but it
didn't get into the system apparently.
I seem to remember trying periods and the browser timing out
anyway, but it was probably just too much time between periods.
This was for a perl program called by cgi which directs the
spidering of a number of sites and indexing of them. I
had looked at IO::Tee, but since I only want the browser to
display a very short summary with the log file containing
more detail, in the end a fork and spaces
being printed by the parent seems best. I supposed I could
run a number of children in parallel but when I've done this
in the past I got two activity logs interleaved in one file,
so I'll keep it serial for now.
I guess I was *too* lazy a perl coder. :)