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I know I made a make install in order to get this running when I first installed it.
I did not make any assumptions that you are new to Linux. The error means that there is nothing to uninstall and if there was, "make uninstall" should have worked. Are you running "make uninstall" from the original build directory or were you trying to recompile from source, so that you can remove an already installed package? If so, you need to compile, make and make install so that the packages are removed.
why didn't you just use one of the apt tools to install it? if you're using debian, i would strongly suggest installing it from apt-get (or aptitude, etc.) instead of compiling it yourself. there's really no reason to be compiling it since there are already debian packages that will install everything for you.