How about a progress bar in the status bar (like some Web browsers used to have, and Thunderbird still does), accept that it will be non-monotonic and not an accurate wall-clock-time % for some compilation tasks, and overlay it with some simple metric like "Compiled 8 / 12 files..."?

If you can find a way to also visually fit in the filename(s) of the file(s) most immediately being compiled on the cores at that moment (some of the leaves in the tree of not-yet-finished-compiled dependencies), that might also be helpful.

More information, like what's being compiled, could be sent as `debug` to the logger, or maybe as `info` for whatever the compiler's logger.

A transient popup/dialog window, rather than status bar, might also work, but DrRacket is nicely tile-ly, and a transient frame for this little status indicator might not be the best UI.  (An app startup splash screen is different.)

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