Let's say instead of installing a vnc I want to use X11 forwarding with ssh. The problem is X11 forwarding doesn't show the current desktop; it only shows you new graphical windows.
How can I use X11 forwarding to view the current desktop?
No, X11 forwarding does not show the desktop. It forwards just the applications windows to your local display. You can't forward whole desktop environment easily by standard
ssh -X pi.
Unfortunately X forwarding is not designed to be like VNC. But: There may be a solution with FreeNX from NoMachine. Unfortunately I am just starting to find out how. OpenNX may give what you need.