Please, check if there is a mapping for .template extension in the IIS project. It should reference to the aspnet_isapi.dll and should not check if the file exists.
You are not required to upload master page in order to create a template for it. After adding the master page to the App_Master folder, you need to restart the application, so the folder is rescanned.
One master page can have multiple temples. That’s why the names cannot be easily kept in sync. We have some ideas how to improve the UI and behavior though.
I think you got the wrong impression about normalization. PageBase table contains the common fields for both templates and pages. This is how inheritance is implemented in Nolics. Pages reference Templates by ID in a fully normalized manner. It is true that the MasterPage field creates redundant data for Pages as always the master page specified in the template is considered. This field at the page level is reserved for future use and although it creates redundant data, it won’t hurt the system.
We do keep data denormalized where necessary to have better flexibility but this does not apply for pages and page templates. For example, it is possible to have content and pages stored in separate databases. This will allow you to share content between multiple sites. Actually, Sitefinity is much more flexible but this will be demonstrated with examples in the near future.