Read the makefile. You can tell what the targets are. make clean
is used to remove temporary object files that are no longer needed. If the make distclean mentioned in the readme was given after the make
step, it may not be needed for the program to run, you may just have files around wasting space.
By convention the steps for installing a program from a tarball are:
1) untar the archive in your home space & cd to the produced directory.
[B]tar xvzf <filename.tgz>
5) make install
Then the directory produced can be deleted, keeping the original tarball around for emergencies.
Make clean is usually used when you need to keep the source around, as in the kernel source. It guarantees that all of the source files will get re-compiled during the next make.
It would be nice if software authors would stick to convention unless there was a good reason not to!