Suggestion: Add a method paint($str) that prints it argument.
Subclasses can override this method to print to other destinations.
(An alternative would be to capture the outputs via output buffering, but if the outputs are sent to a browser, it will then sit idle while the tests are running and then show all results in a single large blob. For long-running tests, it's preferrable if each result gets sent as soon as it is available.)
I have added a patch file to implement the change.
Warning: the patch is entirely untested (I don't know how to run the unit tests for simpletest).
I will submit updated patch files as I find bugs.
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